Tomares mauretanicus

Moroccan Hairstreak

euroButterflies

by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2016

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Photo: mauretanicus

Anti-Atlas, Morocco, April 2013

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Anti-Atlas, Morocco, April 2013

Field notes and information

Only from north Africa where it is said to be widespread and common. It flies very early in the year. My limited experience from southwest Morocco is of an uncommon, widespread and local species. The orange upperside of the females is easy to spot from a distance.

Identification & Similar species: A distinctive species, lacking the green underside hindwing of the otherwise similar provencal hairstreak, T. ballus.

Distribution & Flight: Confined to north Africa. It's found from low to alpine levels well over 2000m.

Habitat & Behaviour: Hot dry slopes with sparse vegetation.

The colony at which most of the 2001 photographs were taken were at about 1200m in the High Atlas mountains near Taroudante. We saw something with a clearly orange upperside fly across the road and we suspected this species. Knowing that they hill-top we climed a low hill nearby. Sure enough males had congregated at the top and were sunning themselves and patrolling. Females were just below the top although there weren't many of these. Both sexes were settling but very alert and hard to approach to photograph.

Variation: Highly variable in all markings.

Photo: mauretanicus

High Atlas mountains, Morocco, March 2001

Clearly a female with orange uppersides.

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Anti-Atlas, Morocco, April 2013

Photo: mauretanicus

Anti-Atlas, Morocco, April 2013

Egg laying?

Photo: mauretanicusPhoto: mauretanicus

Anti-Atlas, Morocco, April 2013

Photo: mauretanicusPhoto: mauretanicus

High Atlas mountains, Morocco, March 2001

Photo: mauretanicus

(c) Peter Rowlings High Atlas mountains, Morocco, March 2001

Photo: mauretanicus

High Atlas mountains, Morocco, March 2001