Cyprus Butterflies by Eddie John F. L. S., F. R. E. S.

A Guide to the Butterflies of Cyprus,

Cyprus Butterfly Recording Scheme and

Cyprus Butterfly Study Group

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Butterflies of Cyprus - LYCAENIDAE (1)

Levantine Leopard (Apharitis acamas)
Cyprus appears to represent the only Mediterranean island in which this infrequently recorded butterfly is found. A acamas is not illustrated in the popular European reference books, but can easily be identified because of its similarity to Allard’s Silver-line (Cigaritis allardi) which is shown in most books, e.g. Tolman & Lewington (1997). See photo of A. acamas left.

Pomegranate Hairstreak (
Deudorix livia)

A recognised migrant butterfly, the only record from Cyprus is of a female found at Peristerona in September 1994 (in coll. Gabriel Georgiou). The species is known from nearby Lebanon (Larsen 1974), which may have been the source of this specimen. Torben Larsen refers to an alternative vernacular name: the Pomegranate Playboy. See photographs on left.

Purple Hairstreak (Favonius quercus)

Few records exist away from the higher altitudes of the Troodos Mountains, where the Purple Hairstreak is occasionally seen at mud or water, or flying around oak trees. Deciduous and evergreen oaks are used as the larval foodplants. Most commonly recorded in July and August but F. quercus may be on the wing in June and September. The species remains unrecorded in northern Cyprus, but may be present in the Pentadaktylos range.

(The Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi) is predicted as a possible species for Cyprus [Dennis et al. 2001]. This would appear to be supported by Hesselbarth et al. [1995] who list records from Turkey’s south coast).

Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)
This butterfly is on the wing throughout all months of the year, most commonly in spring and early summer. Found at all altitudes. See photograph below left.

37. Lesser Fiery Copper (
Lycaena thersamon)
This dazzlingly bright butterfly is common at low altitudes in central and western areas of Cyprus (see photograph below left). L. thersamon is on the wing from April to November in successive broods. See photograph below left.

Long-tailed Blue (
Lampides boeticus)

A very common resident/migrant butterfly and an occasional pest of cultivated legumes. Recorded in nearly all weeks of the year but principally from April/May onwards. (Similar species: see Lang’s Short-tailed Blue.) (See also: ‘Distinguishing characters of the Blues’, Page 3.7 for photographs.)

Lang’s Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous)

Once quite rare in Cyprus, this species has now been recorded in all months of the year. It is frequently common in coastal areas, where it uses a wide variety of host-plants, especially Lucerne (Medicago sativa). Also observed ovipositing on the introduced Medicago arborea (Tree Medick) and Plumbago auriculata. (See also: ‘Distinguishing characters of the Blues’, Page 3.7 )

Little Tiger Blue (
Tarucus balkanicus)

Common at low altitudes in the north, but infrequently encountered in much of the south, with most sightings from low-lying areas near the coast or on the Mesaoria Plain where it is often locally common around bushes of Zizyphus lotus. It often flies with other small blues, but is easily recognisable with its distinctive markings and long tail. April into December, with several broods. (See photograph at foot of page.)

African Babul Blue (Azanus jesous)

Extremely rare migrant butterfly, probably originating in the Middle East. An early record dates back to 1940, when several were caught in Nicosia by Themistokles Shiakides. The specimens remained unidentified until his collection was checked by Parker (1983). Makris (2003) reported that they are now to be found in the Shiakides collection at the Agricultural University, Athens. See photograph below, taken in Israel.
NB A single specimen was photographed in Nicosia by Hasan Ba
glar, in July 2015 - the first for 75 years!
(See also: ‘Distinguishing characters of the Blues’,
Page 3.7 )

Lesser Fiery Copper (Lycaena thersamon), Male.
Voroklini 6 m, June 2006.
© Eddie John

Little Tiger Blue (Tarucus balkanicus)
© Eddie John

Levantine Leopard (Apharitis acamas), Roudias Valley, 500 m, July 1998.
© Christodoulos Makris

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Pomegranate Hairstreak (Deudorix livia) taken at Peristerona, 200 m, September 1994 by Gabriel Georgiou. © Christodoulos Makris

Purple Hairstreak (Favonius quercus), Pafos Forest 1100 m, June 1997.
© Christodoulos Makris

Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas), Platres 1000 m, July 2008. © Yiannis Christofides

Long-tailed Blue (Lampides boeticus), Troodos Mts
25 April 2014. © Eddie John

Lang’s Short-tailed Blue (Leptotes pirithous), 22 May 2015. © Eddie John

African Babul Blue (Azanus jesous), photographed in Israel. © Dubi Benyamini