Tour D. Diurnal Butterflies

- Tour to discover the variety of butterflies inMontaña Palentina.
- ACOMODATION: 6 nights staying at “El Mayorazgo”
- DATES: May - June - July

“Montaña Palentina” is a territory of more than 100,000 hectares located in the north of Palencia (North Spain). Its strategic location between the Eurosiberian and Mediterranean biogeographical regions make this place special for its wonderful biodiversity. We can find some different ecosystems in “Montaña Palentina”, ranging from high mountain areas with elevations above 2,500 meters to moors with natural Mediterranean vegetation above 1,000 meters. Among these, in high areas, there are extensive and well preserved forests of oak and beech, and in thermophile areas there are holm oaks. Above 1,400 meters the forests disappear and scrub communities start to dominate. Above these, subalpine and alpine floors with  juniper and interesting communities with many endemic alpine flora from the Cordillera Cantabrica are found.


In this privileged territory are such iconic species as the brown bear and Iberian wolf, and a long list of more than 200 bird species including the golden eagle, black woodpecker, middle spotted woodpecker and snowfinch. This space is part of the network “Natura 2000”, as Special Protection Areas for Birds (ES4140011 code) and an interesting site for Conservation (codes and ES4140026 ES4140011As) regards the Order Lepidoptera, there are 146 species of butterflies listed for this area, which is  expected to increase to 150 in the future.

A brief list of the most representative species of butterflies can start with the early spring species such as Zerinthia rumina, Euchloe crameri, Anthocharis belia or Zegris eupheme. Some of the best preserved populations in Spain of the rare Pieris ergane are found in the humid valleys. The high mountains are one of the most attractive areas for butterfly lovers, because of both the high number of species and the number of endemic Iberian species that we can find there: the abundant and well distributed Apollo parnasius, the rarest species Colias phicomone,  Boloria pales, Aricia morronensis and all species of the genus Erebia mountain, led by as endemic Iberian specie Erebia lefebvrei and followed by others such as Erebia epiphron and Erebia cassioides. The areas of grassland and shrubs are notable for the presence of species such as Iphiclides podalirius, Boloria euphrosyne, Boloria selene, Boloria dia, Melitaea parthenoides, Melitaea didyma, Euphydryas aurinia, Melanargia lachesis, Coenonympha glycerion, Lycaena virgaureae, Cupido osiris, Scolitantides orion, Polyommatus damon, Polyommatus thersites, Polyommatus dorylas, Polyommatus escheri, Pyrgus serratulae, Pyrgus onopordi and Pyrgus cirsii.

Forest and scrub are the habitat for some endemic Cantabrian species, who are locally very abundant, as is the case Erebia palarica. Other species: Limenitis reducta, Erebia meolans, Erebia triaria, Erebia euryale, Brenthis hecate, Brenthis daphne, Brenthis ino, Hipparchia alcyone, Hipparchia statilinus, Pyronia bathseba o Satyrium esculi  may be found.

In wetlands and peatlands some of the most endangered butterfly species in Spain and Europe can be found, among these are Phengaris nausithous and Boloria eunomia. Finally, moors, with natural vegetation, although rare and threatened habitat, we can found some of the most interesting species. This may be the case of Erebia epistygne flying in early spring, or more widely distributed species as Melanargia occitánica, Melanargia russiae, Coenonympha dorus, Polyommatus ripartii, Polyommatus fulgens, Polyommatus albicans, Satyrus actaea, Arethusana arethusa, Chazara brisei, Pseudophilotes panoptes and Muschampia proto.