Geranium Bronze

Cacyreus marshalli


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Cacyreus marshalli

Italy, July 2014



France, August 2008



A town centre in France, August 2008



This picture (France, 2008) shows how small this butterfly can be. That is my little finger!



Barcelona, July 2005



Barcelona, July 2005



Barcelona, July 2005



Barcelona, July 2005

The next two pictures were taken in Gibraltar, in July 1999. They are of my first ever Geranium bronze.

Since I first posted these pages the Geranium bronze has become more and more established in the wild in Europe. It may be seen throughout the summer in hotter regions of the south, generally near human habitation and particularly in big cities. There is a thriving population in Barcelona, where some of the pictures above were taken. It is easy to identify, even in flight, when it has a characteristically pathetic, pointless, jerky motion and nearly always ends up sitting back down where it flew up. Occasionally, however, it surprises one and suddenly motors off somewhere else.

The Geranium bronze is by origin a South African butterfly that feeds on Pelargonium - the plants frequently known as 'geraniums' in their decorative form. It arrived in Europe in the 1990s as a stowaway on Pelargonium imports, liked it here and decided to stay. Although it is described as a 'pest' in South Africa, I regard it as a welcome pest - another fascinating butterfly species to add to our list.

This year I passed through Barcelona on 15th July and photographed a geranium bronze in a park, a long way from any Pelargonium. I passed by again on 25th and photographed another, in exactly the same place, almost to the leaf. I also saw others in the streets, including one around a dirty bench near the north bus station.