Hipparchia (Pseudotergumia) fidia
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Spain, July 2011
beautiful and distinctive
found in Spain, Portugal and the South of France, just reaching into
Italy. It is often to be seen along paths, lurking in the shade of
vegetation by the side or skulking among the rocks. As a rule it is
rather timid but it rarely
flies far and can be approached with stealth. It is one of my favourite
butterflies, reminding me of the times I lived in Gibraltar, back in
1983 and 1985. Since then I have only been back to the Rock in spring,
before its flight period, but in 2017 I visited nearby Málaga in July -
just for one day - and found it common in the hills. I have also seen
it in North Spain, in Aragón.
Given a good view, this species cannot be confused with any other European grayling. The jagged black, white and grey-brown of the underside hindwing is quite unmistakable. The Canary grayling, Hipparchia wyssii actually has largely the same pattern but is much less bold and contrasting, without the dashes of white, and in any case only flies in the Canaries.
graylings feed on various grasses, hibernating as caterpillars. The
adults fly from June until late August.