Saturday, 6 February 2016

Wanderer on Tenerife

If I were visiting Tenerife during the summer months I would have a fairly good idea of what butterflies I might expect to see but I wasn't sure what species would be on the wing in January. This was our first visit to the Canary Islands and we arrived to the news that they were having one of their warmest winters in many years.

As with any volcanic islands, wildlife has to arrive under its own steam or it is artificially introduced and species diversity can be low. Whilst it is easy to surmise how some species have colonised these islands, the arrival of others is less clear.

Having seen the Indian Red Admiral (Vanessa indica) on Madeira some years ago, it was no surprise to see it flying on Tenerife but quite how and when this Asian species arrived on these Atlantic islands is curious. There is a school of thought that the Canary version of the Indian Red Admiral is now a distinct species (Vanessa vulcania) but I shall leave the taxonomists to continue pondering that one.

The Canary Speckled Wood (Pararge xiphioides) and Canary Blue (Cyclyrius webbianus) are both endemic to the Canary Islands.

Indian Red Admiral (Vanessa indica vulcania)

Monarch (Danaus plexippus) (male)

Canary Speckled Wood (Pararge xiphioides) (male)

Canary Speckled Wood (P. xiphioides)

African Grass Blue (Zizeeria knysna) (male)

African Grass Blue (Z. knysna) (male)

Canary Blue (Cyclyrius webbianus)


Barbary Partridge (Alectoris barbara)

Yellow-legged Gull (Larus cachinnans)

Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea)


Spotted Dolphin (Stenella frontalis)

Tenerife Lizard (Gallotia galloti)


Tenerife Lizard (G. galloti)

Sunset over La Gomera

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