Pyrenees butterflies and moths

The Pyrenees have an abundance of wonderful butterflies and we enjoy beautiful displays on our hikes throughout the summer. Spectacular large butterflies such as Swallowtails, Camberwell beauties and Apollos are regular sights on our walks along with a myriad of different fritillaries, blues and whites.

We’ve taken lots of lovely butterfly photos over the last few years, so I’ve created a butterfly gallery with lots of information about the butterflies of the Pyrenees and the best places to see them.


The swallowtails in the Pyrenees are an absolute delight. We’re lucky enought to have plenty of both the standard swallowtail and also the scarce swallowtail. In fact, here I would say the scarce swallowtail is almost as common as the standard variety. These larger butterflies do something called ‘hilltopping’ when looking for a mate. As stumbling across a mate is unlikely for the rarer butterflies they have a tactic – all head uphill. They stay at the top and look for a mate with the males putting on great displays – the butterfly equivalent to a singles bar! The summit of Punta del Pacino is a perfect place to see this behaviour and we always see both standard and scarce swallowtails up there.

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The moths are even larger and more curious than the butterflies. Undoubtedly, the most spectacular is the Spanish Moon Moth with its large eye spots and long tails. It has a huge 10cm wingspan, lives deep in the pine forests and is a prized sighting. More easily seen, are the day flying humming bird hawk-moth. So-called as it doesn’t land on the flowers but hovers in front drinking the nectar through a long proboscis in a similar manner to a hummingbird.

We hope you enjoy learning about the wonderful butterflies and moths of the Pyrenees.

The spectacular Spanish moon moth

1 Comment

  1. Rebecca Kennedy

    Excellent blog post and photos thank you. I was planning on a walk in July but COVID 19 got in the way. I hope you are all doing well.


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