Zizeeria knysna

African Grass Blue


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

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Fuerteventura, Spain, February 2014

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Malaga, Spain, October 2014

Field notes and information

A very small discrete butterfly, usually found in towns and villages and cultivated areas where watering, irrigation or drainage maintain vegetation even in very hot dry conditions. The butterflies are very fond of lucerne fields and during our visit in June/ July in Morocco 2005 just about every field had a thriving colony of this butterfly, even deep into the desert.

Identification & Similar species: Underside markings are faint. Rather unlike other species in the area.

Distribution & Flight: Widespread and often common across north Africa and sporadic and local in Spain, particularly in southeast coastal areas.

Habitat & Behaviour: Flies very low over short grasses and damp areas in usually very dry hot locations. I've most frequently encountered them in towns and villages, then in margins of cultivated land. Partial to mint and lucerne for example in irregation ditches, drains and desert oases.

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Gran Canaria, Spain, April 2011


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Coimbra, Portugal, October 2019

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Coimbra, Portugal, October 2019

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Gran Canaria, Spain, April 2011

Egg laying.

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Ait Benhaddou, High Atlas, Morocco, July 2005

Fascinating location for many films such as Laurence of Arabia and Gladiator, the movie makers neglected to mention the thriving colony of African grass blues in the foreground of this photo.

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Malaga, Spain, May 2019

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Gran Canaria, Spain, April 2011

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N Tenerife, Spain, April 2012

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Anti Atlas, Morocco, April 2013

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Marrakech, Morocco, June 2005

Very typical habitat - irrigation channels.

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Fuerteventura, Spain, February 2014

Irregated gardens, typical of hotels, host colonies of this discrete butterfly.

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La Palma, Spain, August 2021

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Prov. Malaga, Spain, July 2013