Freyeria trochylus

Grass Jewel

euroButterflies

by Matt Rowlings

copyright © 2003-2019

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Photo: trochylus

S Greece, July 2018

Photo: trochylus

S Greece, June 2013

Field notes and information

It's very tiny size and sedentary behaviour make it highly likely to be overlooked, or mistaken for a fly or small moth. The dull brown colouration is very difficult to pick up and follow in flight and even harder to spot when resting on the ground or on dry grass.

Outside Europe I've found a single butterfly in Turkey and a small but well populated colony beside a river beneath a road bridge in Goa, India.

Formerly known as Chilades trochylus.

Identification & Similar species: Distinctive. It is extremely small, brown and has orange marginal markings on both sides of the hindwing centred with a black spot. On the underside, each black spot has a shining blue arc - the Jewel of the butterfly's English name.

Distribution & Flight: In Europe, only from a few areas of Greece and several of the Greek islands. From March to October in a number of broods.

Habitat & Behaviour: Hot dry rocky grassy ground with sparse grasses. Disturbed ground and edges of cultivation. Attracted to flowers which in summer at least are commoner nearer water sources, ditches or roadside drains. I don't know if this is a habitat requirement though.

Variation: Strong variation in orange markings and the presence and extent of white markings on the upperside hindwing.

Photo: trochylus

S Greece, June 2013

They are very small and discrete. Very easily overlooked.

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S Greece, July 2018

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Crete, Greece, October 2017

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S Greece, July 2018

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NW Greece, July 2016

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S Greece, July 2018

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S Greece, June 2013

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S Greece, June 2013

This time with a British pound.

Photo: trochylus

S Greece, July 2018

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S Greece, July 2018

Habitat - sparse vegetation.

Photo: trochylus

S Greece, July 2018

Photo: trochylus

S Greece, June 2013

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S Greece, July 2018

Egg laying.

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Crete, Greece, October 2017

Courtship.

Photo: trochylus

S Greece, July 2018

Larval food plant Andrachne Andrachne telephioides.

Photo: trochylus

S Greece, June 2013

Photo: trochylus

Crete, Greece, October 2017