Hipparchia syriaca

Eastern Rock Grayling


by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2024

Show butterflies of: EU US
Photo: syriaca17.jpg

Peloppensos, Greece, June 2013

Photo: syriaca12.jpg

Peloppensos, Greece, June 2013

Field notes and information

Distribution and identification extremely difficult due to similarity with the rock grayling H. alycone. On Samos, these butterflies were flying in shady woodland, shunning the hot sunshine. We found them on the greener northern slopes of the island and also amongst the tall pines on the southern slopes. They frequently rested on tree trunks where their cryptic shades rendered them very hard to relocate.

Identification & Similar species: This is one of a group of species difficult to identify owing to individual variability. The following descriptions are not fully reliable. Reference to the julien organs surrounding the genetalia is reportedly definitive, but I've not had great success with this.

Woodland grayling, fagi: averagely larger. Underside forewing white band often without significant indent.

Eastern rock grayling, syriaca: almost as large as the woodland grayling, fagi, the underside hindwing is very similar. The underside forewing white band is averagely much narrower and with indents.

Distribution & Flight: Balkans and many of the Greek islands, flying June/ August.

Habitat & Behaviour: Hot dry pine woodland or other forests with grasses.

Photo: syriaca13.jpg

Peloppensos, Greece, June 2013

Photo: syriaca34.jpgPhoto: syriaca28.jpg

Samos, Greece, June 2018

Photo: syriaca3.jpgPhoto: syriaca4.jpg

Peloppensos, Greece, June 2013

Photo: syriaca24.jpgPhoto: syriaca25.jpg

Samos, Greece, June 2018

Typical resting places on these shady tree trunks.

Photo: syriaca23.jpg

Rhodes, Greece, May 2017

Photo: syriaca40.jpg

Chios, Greece, June 2018

Photo: syriaca39.jpgPhoto: syriaca41.jpg

Samos, Greece, June 2018

Photo: syriaca35.jpgPhoto: syriaca38.jpg

Samos, Greece, June 2018

Photo: syriaca45.jpgPhoto: syriaca46.jpg

Peloppenesos, Greece, July 2018

Photo: syriaca37.jpgPhoto: syriaca43.jpg

Samos, Greece, June 2018

Photo: syriaca32.jpgPhoto: syriaca29.jpg

Samos, Greece, June 2018

Photo: syriaca21.jpgPhoto: aristaeus5.jpg

NW Greece, July 2016

A magnificent ancient Grayling tree.