The Naturalist on Chios, Greece.

Mike Taylor , Liverpool Museum.

Butterflies and Moths

Butterflies were the only group of insects for which any sustained attempt had been made to identify the species occurring on Chios prior to the Liverpool Museum survey. This earlier research had shown that one species of butterfly, Chios Meadow Brown, Maniola chia, was an endemic, only found on Chios and the adjacent small island of Innousis. This butterfly is widespread and common on Chios in the summer. The survey has added 6 species of butterflies to the previously known total of 50. The most notable addition being the Plain Tiger, Danaus chrysippus, a very rare and specially protected species in Greece whose Chios stronghold is at Kato Fana where it has established a foothold probably reinforced by migration.

Two other species of protected butterflies also occur widely on Chios, the False Apollo, Archon apollinus and the Eastern Festoon, Zerynthia cerysi , both feeding as larvae on Birthworts, Aristolochia species, they are locally common on Chios. These two species fly early in the season being on the wing in March and April. They are particularly common in the northwest near the villages of Aphrodesia, Keramos and Leptopoda, and in south central Chios near the villages of Armolia, Kalimassia and Kataraktis. The Two-tailed Pasha, Charaxes jasius , is a very local butterfly on Chios and difficult to find, it has been seen occasionally on the south coast at Kato Fana and on the west coast at Lithi. The larval foodplants are the Strawberry Tree, Arbutus unedo, and the Eastern Strawberry Tree, Arbutus andrachne, both of which grow on Chios. The larvae are cryptically coloured to match the branches and twigs of the foodplant and are very difficult to see.

The total number of species of Lepidoptera identified to date is 430 including the discovery of possibly three species of moth new to science, subject to ongoing study prior to publication of descriptive papers in scientific journals. Six species have been identified from Chios which represent first European records.


© M.J.Taylor 2003. - email: mike.taylor(at) 

Home - Map of Chios - Introduction - Birds on Chios - Wildflowers on Chios - Insects on Chios - Butterflies and Moths - Bees, Wasps and Ants - Flies - Snakeflies, Antlions and Lacewings - Dragonflies - Beetles - Grasshoppers and Crickets - Scorpions and Spiders on Chios - Mammals on Chios - Frogs and Toads on Chios - Lizards and Snakes on Chios - Armadillos, Terrapins and Tortoises on Chios - Marine Fish on Chios - Photographs - Acknowledgements