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

Butterflies of Cyprus - PAPILIONIDAE

Swallowtail (
Papilio machaon)
Common throughout most months of the year and widely distributed throughout the island. Until 2021, P. machaon was the only Swallowtail species present in Cyprus. See below.

Lime Swallowtail (Papilio demoleus)
This swallowtail species has been expanding its range in recent years, spreading north and west from the Gulf States, arriving in Mediterranean Turkey in 2018, and a year later in Mediterranean Syria in 2019 (Basbay, Salimeh & John, 2020).
The anticipated arrival of the species in Cyprus was noted in 2021 by Hasan Baglar (John, Baglar, Basbay & Salimeh, 2021) and the presence of nominotypical
P. demoleus demoleus was confirmed in John, Baglar, Basbay, Konstantinou, Salimeh & Wiemers (2022).
Breeding has been confirmed and potential colonisation discussed in the last mentioned paper - see Bibliography for details.

Eastern Festoon (Allancastria cerisyi)

A fairly common butterfly in Cyprus, found from coastal locations to higher elevations (1,000 m+) during the flight period between March and April or later. Absent from the Mesaoria Plain and south-eastern Cyprus. See photograph below left.


African Migrant (Catopsilia florella)
Found at Liopetri, Frenaros and Ayia Napa in Oct/Nov 1986, when 10 males and one female were taken. One recent (2019) record of this powerful migrant is known from Cyprus, but it is a frequent visitor to the Nile Delta about 350 km to the south (Larsen 1990). See photographs at foot of page.

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Recorded in all months of the year but most commonly seen in spring. Found at higher altitudes in summer, during which period sightings are sparse in coastal areas.

Small White (
Pieris rapae)
Very common at all altitudes throughout Cyprus. Recorded in every month of the year.

Black-veined White (
Aporia crataegi)
Generally uncommon, but observed in greater numbers in recent years. Absent from most areas, with sightings mainly confined to the Troodos Mountain range. As yet, there are no records from northern Cyprus. Recorded between April & June. (See photograph of Aporia crataegi left.)

Bath White (
Pontia daplidice)
Common. Recorded in all months of the year. (Similar species: Small Bath White and Eastern Dappled White.) See photograph below.

Small Bath White (
Pontia chloridice)
A rare butterfly of eastern Europe, the eastern Mediterranean and Asia. Very uncommon in Cyprus, and recorded by only 10% of those recorders listed on the ‘Acknowledgements’ page. Sporadic records between spring and autumn. Because of its similarity with P. edusa, new records should be supported photographically or by means of a voucher specimen, please. See photographs below.

Eastern Dappled White (Euchloe ausonia)

Very commonly found between March and May (cp. Eastern Bath White). In flight, the yellow underside markings of ausonia are noticeable, especially in the second brood, whereas the Eastern Bath White gives an impression of black and green. Both species have a much more determined, purposeful flight than the Small White. See photograph below.

Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)

Fairly common, easily recognised species (males), though females may be confused with No's 7—9. March – April. See photograph below.

Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea)
Very common, other than during the height of summer. Recorded in all weeks of the year. The white form, C. crocea f. helice, occurs in low numbers (<5%). Earlier records indicating the presence of the Eastern Pale Clouded Yellow (Colias erate) have recently been shown to be misidentifications for f. erateformis - a yellow form of the common Clouded Yellow (Colias crocea). Colias erate is therefore withdrawn as a species for Cyprus. See ‘Bibliography’ for further details (John, E., Coutsis, J. G. & Makris, C. (2006) and plate below left).

Cleopatra (
Gonepteryx cleopatra)

Fairly common in spring and present throughout all months, but is rarely numerous. Note that a yellow form of female Cleopatra is occasionally seen and that the orange forewing marking in the male is often subdued. See photograph below. (N.B. The Brimstone [G. rhamni] is not known from Cyprus).

Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi)
© Eddie John

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The aposematic larva (left) and pupa (right) of the Small Bath White (Pontia chloridice) on its foodplant Cleome ornithopodioides.
© Eddie John (L) & Martin Gascoigne-Pees (R)

Small Bath White (Pontia chloridice), male, Platres, 1000m, April 2006.
© Bernard Fransen

Eastern Festoon (Allancastria cerisyi) female.
© David & Ros Sparrow

Swallowtail (Papilio machaon)
© Alison McArthur

Bath White (Pontia daplidice) 10 May 2015
© Eddie John

Distinguishing between Pontia daplidice and
P. chloridice:

Undersides of Bath White (Pontia daplidice) on left; Small Bath White (Pontia chloridice) on right. Both are first brood males.
© Christodoulos Makris

Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines) male above, April 2010 © Yiannis Christofides.

Large White (Pieris brassicae) female, 3 May 2016.
© Eddie John

African Migrant (Catopsilia florella) Male (L) & Female (R), collected by Pavlos Neofytou at Agia Napa and Frenaros, October 1986. © Christodoulos Makris. In 2019, a single specimen was photographed in Karpasia (John, E., Hawkes, W. L. S. & Walliker, E. J. 2019. A review of Mediterranean records of Catopsilia florella (Fabricius, 1775) (Lepidoptera: Pieridae, Coliadinae), with notes on the spring 2019 arrival in Cyprus of this Afrotropical migrant. Phegea 47(3) 80–86.)

Row 1: examples of a rare, yellow form of male Clouded Yellow (
Colias crocea) which has been erroneously identified as Eastern Clouded Yellow (Colias erate) in the recent past. (See text on Colias crocea below right.)
Row 2: lighter forms of female
Colias may also be found. No significance should be attached to the small size of this female, as dwarf forms occur in Cyprus.
Rows 3 & 4: typical male and female Clouded Yellow (
Colias crocea).
© Christodoulos Makris

Small White (Pieris rapae) nectaring on Cistus creticus © Eddie John

Eastern Dappled White (Euchloe ausonia) female.
© Eddie John

Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra) female, nectaring on Cistus creticus. © Eddie John

Lime Swallowtail (Papilio demoleus)
© Hasan Baglar