Hipparchia tamadabae

Gran Canaria Grayling

euroButterflies

by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2016

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Photo: tamadabae

Gran Canaria, Spain, April 2011

Photo: tamadabae

Gran Canaria, Spain, April 2011

This injured female gave us a privileged glimpse of the upperside.

Field notes and information

Formerly subspecies of the Canary Grayling H. wyssii DNA analysis shows that a different species flies on each of the five western Canary Islands. These may be semi-species forming a super-species group, but that distinction is in the domain of the taxonomist. It must be said that visually all these taxa are extremely similar.

The new classification is as follows:
H. tamadabae from Gran Canaria.
H. wyssii from Tenerife.
H. tilosi from La Palma.
H. gomera from Gomera.
H. bacchus from Hierro.

Identification & Similar species: Location (island) separates this group of five species from one another. No other similar species fly in the Canaries.

Distribution & Flight: The current species is the earliest on the wing, being found from April at lower levels in the south of the Gran Canaria into late summer in a single brood.

Habitat & Behaviour: Flies on rocky mountain slopes with grasses and flowers - a description which actually describes most of the southern and upper parts of the island! Very sensitive to approach as it rests on rocks where it is extremely well camouflaged.

Photo: tamadabae

Gran Canaria, Spain, April 2011

Photo: tamadabae

Gran Canaria, Spain, April 2011

Habitat shared with the Canary blue C. webbianus.

Photo: tamadabae

Gran Canaria, Spain, April 2011

The butterflies flew at the sound of the camera shutter. Note the dark sex brand of the male.

Photo: tamadabae

Gran Canaria, Spain, April 2011

Photo: tamadabae

Gran Canaria, Spain, April 2011

Photo: tamadabaePhoto: tamadabaePhoto: tamadabae

Gran Canaria, Spain, April 2011

Photo: tamadabaePhoto: tamadabaePhoto: tamadabae

Gran Canaria, Spain, April 2011