Portuguese Dappled White
Euchloe tagis

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Euchloe tagis

Gibraltar, April 2023

Quite widespread in Spain, Portugal, the South of France and North Italy, this is nevertheless a local species and less commonly encountered than western and eastern dappled whites. In fact, I didn't see (or rather, confirm) one until April 2023, when I found three during a rushed trip to Gibraltar. The first two didn't stop for a photo but the third did, very briefly, and I was able to get the single shot above. There was a strong wind blowing from the east that day and it is possible they breed mostly on the sparse, eastern slopes of the Rock and that a few got blown over. In any case, I haven't found them there on previous trips.

In flight, Portuguese dappled whites are very similar to other dappled whites. On average, they are smaller than crameri/ausonia, but all these butterflies are very variable and size cannot be used as a reliable guide. The underside has largely the same markings as ausonia and crameri, although they are typically more broken up and smaller (variable by subspecies) and set in a more uniformly grey-green ground, with no obvious yellow. The costal spot on the forewing is rather linear and lacks a white centre, often found in the other two species. Most obviously, however, the costal margin of the hindwing is smoothly curved rather than apruptly angled:

crameri and tagis
Western dappled white on left; Portuguese dappled white or right
Portuguese dappled whites feed on various species of Iberis - candytuft - and are found on hot, sparsely vegetated, rocky, calcareous slopes. There is a single brood each year, said to be from late March to May, though given the tendency of southern species to fly earlier in recent years, I suspect they can be found in Spain at least before late March. 

Distribution

Euchloe tagis distribution