Cyprus Butterflies by Eddie John F. L. S., F. R. E. S.

A Guide to the Butterflies of Cyprus,

Cyprus Butterfly Recording Scheme and

Cyprus Butterfly Study Group

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Butterflies of Cyprus - SATYRINAE

Cyprus Grayling (Hipparchia cypriensis)
The Cyprus Grayling is a very common endemic butterfly species to Cyprus, emerging in April but dispersing to higher altitudes by early summer. Large numbers congregate in the mountains during the summer months, returning to coastal regions in the autumn (John & Parker 2002). Previously referred to as H. pellucida cypriensis by Parker (1983), Manil (1990) and John (2000) but elevated to species rank by Otakar Kudrna (Kudrna 1986). The photograph of the Cyprus Grayling (left) shows it to be very similar to the Grayling (Hipparchia semele) which is widely distributed throughout Europe, but replaced by H. cypriensis in Cyprus.

Eastern Rock Grayling / Syrian Grayling (
Hipparchia syriaca cypriaca)
At the higher altitudes generally less common than the Cyprus Grayling, H. syriaca has a shorter flight period and is usually found between June – September. Frequently seeks shade by resting communally on trunks of trees or walls. Easily confused with the Cyprus Grayling when wings are tightly closed - see enlarged photograph on left.

The Hermit (
Chazara briseis larnacana)

A common endemic subspecies found in coastal areas and hill tracks. Usually on the wing from May to late October. See photograph below left. Note the strongly patterned underside hindwing which helps to separate resting specimens from the (smaller) female Pseudochazara anthelea.

Great Steppe Grayling / Dark Rockbrown (Chazara persephone)

A paper describing the near-certain rediscovery of this species in Cyprus has been submitted to The Entomologist’s Gazette, a peer-reviewed journal (see John, E., Haines, D. H. & Haines, H. M., 2011). Prior to submission of this paper, a photograph (see below left) was examined by three leading lepidopterists from Europe / the Middle East, who agreed with the provisional determination of Chazara persephone. Accordingly, this has been accepted as an addition to the Cyprus list, subject to confirmation. Last reported in Cyprus (as Satyrus anthe) in the 1900s, Chazara persephone may have remained unseen in the northern forests, or have migrated from one of several nearby mainland countries in which the species is known to be present.

White-banded Grayling (Pseudochazara anthelea acamanthis)
A subspecies, sometimes fairly common in mountainous localities in Cyprus. Found in high, rocky terrain, usually above 1000 m, between May and August, occasionally later. Sexes are markedly dissimilar in size and wing patterning - see photographs below left. (See Wakeham-Dawson, Parker, John & Dennis 2003.)

Cyprus Meadow Brown (
Maniola cypricola)
Another endemic butterfly of Cyprus, very commonly seen between April and October at all altitudes. Closely resembles the Meadow Brown (M. jurtina) which is not found in Cyprus. See photograph below left. (Similar species: see Oriental Meadow Brown.)

Oriental Meadow Brown (
Hyponephele lupina)
A common subspecies, very occasionally outnumbering the Cyprus Meadow Brown in some (mostly eastern?) localities of Cyprus. Shares similar habitat to M. cypricola and is very similar in appearance, but is usually on the wing between May – September. See photographs below right.

Speckled Wood (
Pararge aegeria)
Generally present in very small numbers compared with other Mediterranean countries. May be found between April and September, or later, in typical locations providing dappled sunlight. Very few records exist from the south-east of the island. Note that it is the orange form, P. a. aegeria that occurs in Cyprus. See photograph below.

Large Wall Brown (
Lasiommata maera)
Gregarious species which may be locally common in the mountains, especially on steep, rocky terrain. Usually found between March and November. See photographs below left.

Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera)
Very similar distribution and flight period to the Large Wall Brown. On the wing from mid-February into November. See photograph below.

African Ringlet (
Ypthima asterope)
Generally uncommon to rare, although may be locally common. Late March – June, and October. See photograph below.

Lattice Brown (
Kirinia roxelana)

Generally uncommon, with only one report from Cyprus of this species being seen in numbers, when approximately 30 were seen nectaring on globe thistle in the Pentadaktylos Mountains (Daniel & Hilary Haines). See photograph below.

Cyprus Grayling (Hipparchia cypriensis) - male, nectaring on Limonium sinuatum, Pafos. Note the deeper orange forewing underside compared with Hipparchia syriaca below.
Spring 2006 © Alison McArthur

The Hermit (Chazara briseis larnacana) female nectaring on Onopordum cyprium. Foinikas, May 2005. © Alison McArthur

The endemic Cyprus Meadow Brown (Maniola cypricola) male nectaring on Cistus creticus.
© Eddie John

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White-banded Grayling (Pseudochazara anthelea) male. Platres 1000 m. © Yiannis Christofides

African Ringlet (Ypthima asterope), April 2006.
© Bernard Fransen

Lattice Brown (Kirinia roxelana), nectaring on the globe thistle, Echinops spinosissimus, Pentadaktylos Mts 600 m. July 2006.
© Hilary Haines

Cyprus Meadow Brown (Maniola cypricola) female (L) & Oriental Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lupina) female (R). Note the twin eye-spots on H. lupina (female only) and the more deeply scalloped hindwings. Photos © Christodoulos Makris

Large Wall Brown (Lasiommata maera) female (L) & Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) female (R). Note the darker underside forewing markings on megera. Photos © Christodoulos Makris

Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) male, Troodos Mountains 1600 m, June 1995
© Christodoulos Makris

White-banded Grayling (Pseudochazara anthelea) female. Panagia 700 m. © Christodoulos Makris

Eastern Rock Grayling (Hipparchia syriaca), in typical resting position on a tree trunk. Akamas, June 2010. © Bob Duckhouse

Oriental Meadow Brown (Hyponephele lupina) female nectaring on Buddleia in a Platres garden. Note the more deeply serrated hindwing margin when compared with M. cypricola above and the glimpse of the second eye-spot on the forewing.
Platres 1000 m. © Yiannis Christofides

Great Steppe Grayling / Dark Rockbrown (Chazara persephone) . An indistinct photograph, but one displaying clear characteristics of the species. Kantara, July 2010. © Hilary Haines

Cyprus Meadow Brown (Maniola cypricola) male left and the more heavily marked female on the right.
25 May 2014. © Eddie John

Wall Brown (Lasiommata megera) male. 3 May 2015. © Eddie John

Large Wall Brown (Lasiommata maera) female.
27 Feb 2013. © Alison McArthur

Large Wall Brown (Lasiommata maera) female.
27 Feb 2013. © Alison McArthur