Zegris eupheme

Sooty Orange Tip


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

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Madrid, Spain, May 2009

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Madrid, Spain, May 2009

Field notes and information

A dramatic insect, rather uncommon, local and rarely encountered. I've only very limited experience of the species in Spain and Morocco where I found it in very low numbers. Patience is required, but is well worth it!

It has been proposed that the populations of this species from Spain and Morocco are Z. meridionalis a species distinct from Z. eupheme which has its nearest populations in E Turkey/ Ukraine. This proposal hasn't been accepted in the Checklist of European butteflies 2018 (Weimer et al) so I'll not adopt it here.

Identification & Similar species: Very distinctive species, cannot be mistaken for anything else. The yellow undersides and the patch of orange in grey-black forewing tips are highly distinctive.

Distribution & Flight: Central, south and east Spain from 500 to 1300m and the mountains of Morocco from 1300 to 2800m. It flies between April and June depending on altitude and location.

Habitat & Behaviour: Open flowery grasslands amongst hills. Places dominated by Cruciferae are favoured which are used for nectar. Larvae feed on Isatis tinctoria, woad and Hirschfeldia incana hoary mustard. A very strong flyer ranging over wide areas.

Variation: These two subspecies are very similar to each other. I'm not sure on what basis they are separated. meridionalis: from the Iberian Peninsular. maroccana: from Morocco.

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Madrid, Spain, May 2009

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Lleida, Spain, May 2007

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Madrid, Spain, May 2009

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Lleida, Spain, May 2007