Nettle Tree Butterfly. Libythea celtis (Laicharting, 1782)
It is also known as the European Beak. Wingspan: From 3.5 to 4.4 cm.
Routes where it can be observed
- GR 249. Stage 09: Periana - Alfarnatejo (Pulgarín Alto)
- GR 249. Stage 03: Vélez-Málaga - Torrox
- GR 249. Stage 04: Torrox - Nerja
- GR 249. Stage 05: Nerja - Frigiliana
- GR 249. Stage 06: Frigiliana - Cómpeta
- GR 249. Stage 07: Cómpeta - Canillas de Aceituno
- GR 249. Stage 08: Canillas de Aceituno - Periana
- GR 249. Stage 10: Alfarnatejo (Pulgarín Alto) - Alfarnate
- GR 249. Stage 11: Alfarnate - Villanueva del Rosario
- GR 249. Stage 12: Villanueva del Rosario - Archidona
- GR 249. Stage 14: Villanueva de Tapia - Villanueva de Algaidas
- GR 249. Stage 15: Villanueva de Algaidas - Cuevas Bajas
- GR 249. Stage 20: Embalses del Guadalhorce - Estación de El Chorro
- GR 249. Stage 21: Estación de El Chorro - Ardales
- GR 249. Stage 22: Ardales - El Burgo
- GR 249. Stage 23: El Burgo - Ronda
- GR 249. Stage 24: Ronda - Estación de Benaoján
- GR 249. Stage 25: Estación de Benaoján - Jimera de Líbar
- GR 249. Stage 26: Jimera de Líbar - Benalauría
- GR 249. Stage 27: Benalauría - Genalguacil
- GR 249. Stage 28: Genalguacil - Casares
- GR 249. Stage 29: Casares - Estepona
- GR 249. Stage 31: Marbella - Ojén
- GR 249. Stage 32: Ojén - Mijas
- GR 249. Stage 33: Mijas - Benalmádena
- GR 249. Stage 34: Benalmádena - Alhaurín de la Torre
Open wings: Brown with big orange spots and a whitish spot close to the front margin. All wings are sinuous, though forewings, which have an obvious protruding edge, are more prominent. The body and the base of the wings have greenish colour on them.
Closed wings: They are greyish and brownish mottled with dark colour. Sinuous margins are more prominent on the forewing, which has a sharp edge under the apex, and white spots which cannot always be seen. On the hindwing, there is a lobe on the front margin and a white, thin and long line in the middle of the wing. These butterflies have rather protruding sensory organs, palpi, which come out of the head between antennae.
Their peculiar figure, whenever the butterfly has closed or open wings, and the long palpi make it difficult to be confused with any other species.
Biology and Habitat
Adult butterflies live several months, counting on only one generation a year. They spend most of summer, autumn, and almost all winter, hibernating in order to start reproducing at the end of winter and beginning of summer. A new generation emerges at the end of spring and beginning of summer. Therefore, there are two good periods for watching them: in March and April, when they are worn out or injured if they survive winter, and in June, when the new generation emerges.
They tend to scatter and migrate, so they can be seen in all kinds of habitats. However, they prefer forests and woods on the river bans, where their caterpillars' main foodplant, hackberry or nettle tree (Celtis australis) can be found. It can also be found around elm trees (Ulmus minor).
Distribution in the Great Path
Due to the great changes on the river banks, these butterflies, which must have been many in the past, are rare in Málaga. Nevertheless, as nettle trees are of special interest for Andalusian laws, the tree has been preserved and planted on river banks and parks and gardens, so the butterfly species in question should increase in number unless the trees in urban areas are treated with biocide. The species can be seen along the GMP, but only close to the rivers and streams where nettle trees grow, and it is rather rare. It does not exist on stages which go along the coast. As for the stages in the north of the province, it is scarcer, limited to some locations, or it does not exist on them. Nevertheless, due to their migratory character, they can appear at any stage where they have not been spotted yet.