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Menorca’s Winged Beauties

Situated at the crossroads of two continents, Menorca is uniquely positioned to enjoy a stunning range of exotic plant and animal life. Designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1995, Menorca is committed to protecting, conserving and celebrating its biodiversity. This tiny island overflows with life, with many species sure to be entirely new to visitors.

Gonepteryx cleopatra

When you visit Menorca, the most noticeable natives are the ones fluttering through the air, or feeding on the island’s lush vegetation: butterflies. With over 25 species present on the island, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to observe these delicate and beautiful insects. To get a head start on exploring, familiarise yourself with some of the species that call the island their home.

Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra) – This regally-named butterfly is relatively common on the island, as well as across Europe and North Africa. Though this species tends to hibernate in evergreen trees during the colder months, in hospitable climates like Spain and the Balearics it may fly all year round. Males are easy to spot by their sunny yellow wings with bright orange patches. Females are a little trickier – their yellow-green veined wings make them look almost exactly like leaves!

Vanessa atalanta

Red admiral (Vanessa atalanta) – As a migrant butterfly, the red admiral is typically seen in Menorca twice a year: once between May and June, and then again between September and October. Its brown and black wings are striped with vibrant red-orange, making it easy to spot and wonderful to photograph. You’re most likely to find this butterfly or its larvae hanging around nettle plants.

Wood white (Leptidea sinapis) – This delicate, blue and white butterfly is usually found in woodland or dry scrub. Though relatively rare in Menorca, you’ll know a wood white by its black-tipped white wings and dragonfly-like profile. If you’re hoping to spot one of these elegant creatures, you should be on the lookout between spring and late summer.

Leptidea sinapis

To increase your chances of seeing some of Menorca’s butterflies, why not rent a quiet countryside villa with its own garden? The lush greenery often attracts butterflies of all shapes, sizes, and colours right to your front window.

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