Back to blogs

  • Ali-Po Best carpet and upholstery cleaning in the Algarve
  • Aimcliff Properties Algarve

RationalFX 225x220

Adsense 225x225 for Blogs

Butterflies and moths in the Algarve

by Sun’s Dragon   

Many bird watchers come to the Algarve for their holiday and spend their time with binoculars and cameras at the ready. There are many rare and migratory birds here and many of the twitchers include butterflies in their itineraries. There are more than 140 kinds of butterfly found in Portugal and more than half of those are here in the Algarve; some of them are quite rare or even endangered apparently.

Butterflies

Everybody loves butterflies, well maybe not love them, but we all enjoy seeing these beautiful creatures fluttering around us. The butterfly is colourful and adores the sunshine; unlike moths, which seem to be drab and brown and only come out at night, dive-bombing any light they can find.

Butterflies flew on this earth as long ago as 40 or 50 million years according to fossils that have been found; now that’s going back one hell of a long way. Luckily the species has survived for all those years and we still benefit from the gaily coloured flutterers.

From birth, they go through three stages; first the egg, then the caterpillar and finally the beautiful butterfly. At the caterpillar stage they can do a lot of damage to garden plants and are a real pest but then, Hey Presto, they turn into beautiful creatures. Talk about being born an ugly duckling!

Butterflies are great at pollinating our plants whilst they gather nectar to eat. Apart from that, and providing us with nature’s beauty and the next generation, they don’t seem to achieve much. Some only live for three days whilst others can last for nine months; I know which I would rather be.

Moths

As you can see, not all moths are dull and drab; primarily nocturnal, they take over the night shift for pollinating our plants. Night time is also mating time, so whilst busily helping our plants to grow they are also making new moths.

If you want to see a bunch of moths “doing their thing” try this little trick: Take a light and a white sheet to cover the light and set it up near your patio on a summer’s night. Sit back, have a drink (alcoholic or not) and see all the moths clinging to your sheet. The whole family can join in for an evening’s entertainment!

If you spot a very large moth, you may be experiencing a rare sighting of the Giant Peacock Moth. With a wing span up to 15cms, this is Europe’s largest moth and has been seen fluttering around the Algarve at night during April and June.

Beware

There is a species of moth that we’d rather not see here in the Algarve, that’s the Pine Processionary Moth. The moth itself is harmless, but the female lays its eggs in the Algarve’s pine trees in summer, covering and fastening them to the needle foliage with scales produced in their abdomens. After about a month (in early spring), the caterpillars emerge and form nests which can be seen hanging from the branches of the pine trees; they look rather like a white candy floss. The caterpillars feed on the needles, causing severe defoliation in some cases. When the nest drops to the ground, the caterpillars form a fascinating, travelling chain that can contain up to 300 insects. But don’t get too close! These caterpillars release fine, toxic hairs that float free and can cause severe skin rashes and eye irritations in humans and can be fatal to dogs.

There are many legends, myths and fairy tales about butterflies and moths, ranging from bringers of money to bringers of death. They are found in ancient cave paintings and in Egyptian hieroglyphics. To this day they feature in folklore throughout the world.

 

Brought to you by Meravista – the place where smart people search for Algarve property for sale.

Meravista Property Search Algarve Portugal

Add new comment