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Hipparchia fagi ■ Zámoly, Hungary ■ Found across most of southern Europe, this large butterfly prefers woodland with brushy undergrowth. The specific epithet “fagi” refers to Beech trees (Fagus genus) but in Hungary I have never seen it in Beech woodlands. It seem to prefer conifers where the pattern of its folded wings is perfect camouflage among the scaly bark of the pine trees.
Lycaena vigaureae ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ Coppers are small, intensely colourful butterflies. Despite the name, this species is not really scarce. It is rare in places like Britain, Netherlands and Belgium but much commoner in Europe to the east and south and in Scandinavia. Its range extends eastward to Mongolia.
Ochlodes sylvanus ■ Apaj, Hungary ■ Skippers are small butterflies with huge heads and small wings relative to the body. This species can be found across Eurasia in grassy clearings and woodland edges. It overwinters as a caterpillar and doesn’t pupate until the following spring. The adults emerge in June and are on the wing for a couple of months.
Maniola jurtina ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ Female left and male right. The is the commonest satyr in Hungary. It has a very distinctive herky-jerky flight that is a familiar sight in fields and meadows during the spring and summer.
Coenonympha arcania ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ A very small, univoltine butterfly of continental Europe, the adults are on the wing from mid-May to mid-August.
Erebia medusa ■ Szilvásvárad, Hungary ■ This butterfly prefers higher elevation forests and since Hungary doesn’t have a lot of that, it is uncommon and local in the country. It is a bit sporadic throughout its range.
Small Elephant Hawk-moth
Deilephila porcellus ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ This moth has a somewhat similar colour scheme to the Elephant Hawk-moth but is much smaller and has a smaller range. It is found in Europe, North Africa and western Asia while its larger cousin is found across the palearctic. Both of them get their common name from the resemblance of the caterpillar to an elephant’s trunk.
Satyrium pruni ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ The specific epithet of this small butterfly refers to its preference for hanging out in blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) thickets. The adults are on the wing in June and early July and produce only a single brood every year (univoltine). It is found from Central Europe all the way to Japan but is rare and sporadic in Western Europe.
Parnassius mnemosyne ■ Szilvásvárad, Hungary ■ In Europe, Apollo butterflies generally like the mountains but this one can also be found in the lowlands, which is why it is the only species of Apollo found in Hungary. Even so, it is not that common. It can be found on the wing from May to July in bushy clearings in the forest. The Apollos belong to the same family as the swallowtails.
Conistra rubiginosa ■ Törökbálint, Hungary ■ Some moths are active during the cold winter months and this is one of them. As long as the temperature is above freezing it can be found on the wing throughout the winter. This one was coming at night to feed on the apples I leave out for the thrushes.
Melitaea athalia ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ Common and widespread in Europe except for the British Isles, southern Spain and Greece. It likes grassy places with bushes or woodland clearings.
Brenthis hecate ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ In Europe this fritillary is found mostly in the SE of the continent with only scattered local populations in southern Spain and France. Its range extends to Asia Minor, Iran and parts of Central Asia. It produces only a single brood per year (univoltine) and the adults are on the wing in June and July.
Lesser Marbled Fritillary
Brenthis ino ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ A medium-sized univoltine butterfly that prefers damp meadows and open, broken woodland. It spends the winter as a caterpillar and doesn’t pupate until the following spring. The adults are on the wing in June.
Glaucopsyche alexis ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ Like most blues, this butterfly sticks close to the ground. The adults are on the wing from May to July in warm, overgrown meadows with lots of vetch.
Macroglossum stellatarum ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ This small diurnal sphinx moth gets its name from remarkable hummingbird-like appearance and habits when feeding. It is well camouflaged when resting on rocks like this one, but when flying, it’s a different story. It flashes rich orange underwings.
Silver Studded Blue
Plebejus argus ■ Nagyharsány, Hungary ■ Female (left) and male (right). Larva of the blue family of butterflies secret a sticky substance that is favoured by ants. It is thought the presence of ants help protect the larva from predation.
Brenthis daphne ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ This medium sized fritillary has an extensive range across Eurasia, but in Europe is only found in the southern half of the continent. It produces only one brood per year, and the adults are usually on the wing in May, June, July.
Lycaena dispar ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ This striking butterfly has patchy distribution in Europe, with most of the population concentrated in the southeast and the Balkans. It is mostly found in wet meadows or near water as the larva feed on water dock. Female on the left and male on the right.
Callophrys rubi ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ The hairstreaks are very small butterflies in the same family as coppers and blues. This species is the most widespread of the European hairstreaks.
Boloria dia ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ A small fritillary named after British entomologist Richard Weaver. In Europe, the larva feed almost exclusively on violets and it can produce two to three broods per year.
Lycaena alciphron ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ The coppers are very small butterflies, but what they lack in size, they make up for in bling. They often have very intense colours. This species has more subdued colours, but the orange and violet suffusion makes a nice combination.
Neptis rivularis ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ Despite the common name, this butterfly is primarly an Asian species, being found across temperate Eurasia all the way to Japan. Hungary is the western limit of its range and is not found in Western Europe. It prefers somewhat higher elevation woodland compared to the Common Glider.
High Brown Fritillary
Fabriciana adippe ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ Large size with big white spots on the underside of the hindwing make this fritillary easier to ID than many. It is found right across temperate Eurasia but is struggling in some parts of its range. In Britain, it is considered endangered after experiencing a 75% decline over the past decades.
False Heath Fritillary
Melitaea diamina ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ A very dark, medium-sized fritillary. Found in most countries in Central Europe but has patchy distribution in the western and northern parts of the continent. It prefers moist grassy places, often close to forests.
Satyrium spini ■ Tornakápolna, Hungary ■ A tiny, univoltine butterfly found in southern and Central Europe to the Middle East in hot, dry scrubby areas.
Anthocaris cardamines ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ One of the earliest butterflies to appear in the spring, this is a hard species to photograph. They are constantly on the wing and just never seem to sit still. They prefer sunny patches along forest edges.
Lesser Purple Emperor
Apatura ilia ilia ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ Virtually all Lesser Purple Emperors in the Hungarian lowlands are the paler clytie subspecies (A.i. clytie). This one is the darker, slightly larger nominate subspecies and is generally found at higher elevations, in the hills near the Slovakian border.
Pale Orange Underwing
Archiearis puella ■ Rácalmás, Hungary ■ Found in isolated populations in Central Europe, this small, day-flying moth is partial to poplar trees. It pupates before winter so by the time early spring arrives, the adults are ready to go. This specimen was on the wing in February.
Arethusana arethusa ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ The adults of this univoltine satyr usually don’t emerge until July and are on the wing until mid-September. They prefer drier grassy, bushy areas, forest edges and steppe. The young overwinter as larva and don’t pupate until the following spring.
Hesperia comma ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ Skippers are very small butterflies, and this skipper is one of the smallest of the family. The white dots on the underside of the wing are diagnostic of this species. It is only active on very warm, sunny days and like most skippers stays close to the ground.
Hyles euphorbiae ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ This small hawk-moth is native to southern Europe but was introduced to North America for biological control of spurge (considered a noxious weed). It is strictly nocturnal. I was lucky to find this adult on the wing at dusk, but poor light conditions and constant frenetic motion made getting a photo very tough. The larva was much more cooperative. :)
Thymelicus sylvestris ■ Kunszentmiklos, Hungary ■ Skippers are an ancient, cosmopolitan family of butterflies characterized by a large head and body relative to the wings. They are fast flyers and generally stay close to the ground. This species is one of the commoner European skippers and is on the wing from May to August.
Minois dryas ■ Female ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ Named after the wood nymph of Greek mythology, this large, dark Satyr is on the wing in July and August. It is found in southern Europe and its range extends to Mongolia and Japan.
Hipparchia statilinus ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ Relatively common in some parts of southern Europe such as Spain and Italy, this species has very patchy distribution in the rest of the continent. It is somewhat scarce in Hungary, but seems to be expanding its range.
Melitaea britomartis ■ Nagykovácsi, Hungary ■ This little beauty is not named after a famous proctologist, but after 19th century German entomologist August Assman. Reminds me of the “Fusilli Jerry” episode of Seinfeld (S.6, E.21). :D
Coenonympha pamphilus ■ Soskút, Hungary ■ This is one of the smallest of the Satyridae, not much larger than a skipper. It is found in grassy, bushy areas across Europe. It rarely flies more than a meter above the ground and virtually never opens its wings at rest.
Polyommatus daphnis ■ Male ■ Nagykovácsi, Hungary ■ As with most blues, this is a very small butterfly. It produces one brood per year and the adults are on the wing in July and August in flowery meadows with tall grass. It has limited distribution in Europe with its range centred on the Balkans and Asia Minor.
Five-spot Burnet Moth
Zygaena trifoli ■ Nagykovácsi, Hungary ■ Burnet moths are unusual in that they have a bulbous end to the antennae. Most moths have antenna that are featherlike or end in a fine point, while the clubbed antennae is characteristic of butterflies.
Eastern Bath White
Pontia edusa ■ Sóskút, Hungary ■ A bath might not be a bad idea for this butterfly. Wash off some of that chalk dust. :D
Celastrina argiolus ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ Holly (Ilex aquifolium) has very thick, tough leaves, yet it is one of the main larval food plants of this blue. I guess the parents want the kids to work for their nutrition. :) It is widespread in Europe and is usually bivoltine, meaning it produces two broods per year.
Aphantopus hyperantus ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ The markings on the underside of the wing are what gives this butterfly its common name. It is widespread in Europe, but absent from the extreme north and extreme south of the continent. Unlike many other butterflies, Ringlets are active even on cooler, overcast days.
Scarce Large Blue
Maculinea telejus ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ This butterfly is very scarce and local in Europe, being found in very wet meadows with abundant Great Burnet, the larval food plant. It produces only one brood every summer and the adults are on the wing in July.
Tyta luctuosa ■ Törökbálint, Hungary ■ This small moth is native to Eurasia but was introduced to North America in the 1980’s in an effort to control bindweed (Convolvulus), which is its main larval foodplant. It proved to be ineffective in controlling the weed.
Large Wall Brown
Lasiommata maera ■ Sárszentágota, Alap, Hungary ■ This medium sized brown is widespread in Europe, but not found in the British Isles and Denmark. It seems a bit strange that it is found in Norway and Sweden, but not in Denmark, as the countries are separated by a relatively narrow strait of water.
Pieris napi ■ Josvafő, Hungary ■ This widespread European butterfly has considerable geographic variation. The taxonomic status and relationship between the many subspecies is so complex that Collins Butterfly Guide (Tolman, Lewington) concludes that “the species appears to be in an active state of evolution”.
Coenonympha oedippus ■ Female ■ Ocsa, Hungary ■ This is one of Hungary’s (and Europe’s) rarer butterflies. It has very patchy and highly local distribution across the continent and appears to be in decline because of habitat loss. It is classified as “near-threatened” by the IUCN.
Zeuzera pyrina ■ Ocsa, Hungary ■ This moth belongs to the Cossidae family, a primitive group of moths that feed on living wood. For this reason they are considered an agricultural pest in many parts of the world as they can cause damage to fruit trees.
The blues are small butterflies belonging to a large family (Lycaenidae) that includes coppers and hairstreaks. On the left is an Eastern Short-tailed Blue (Cupido decolorata) and the right is a Chequered Blue (Scolitantides orion). The larva of many species in this family produce a sugary secretion attractive to ants. The ants in turn protect the larva from predatory flies and wasps.
Lopinga achine ■ Josvafö, Hungary ■ This brown is somewhat uncommon in the European part of its range. It could be partly due to habitat loss and fragmentation but nobody is sure. It likes deciduous woodland with lush undergrowth and scattered open spaces. It is on the wing in June and July.
Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing
Noctua fimbriata ■ Ocsa, Hungary ■ The underwings are characterized by plain forewings and intensely coloured hindwings. They are challenging to photograph because they so rarely show their colourful hindwings when at rest.
Laothoe populi ■ Ocsa, Hungary ■ This is the second commonest European hawkmoth, after the Hummingbird Hawkmoth. This individual is showing the typical resting posture, where the leading edge of the hindwing is projecting beyond the leading edge of the forewing.
Smerinthus ocellata ■ Ocsa, Hungary ■ This is the usual resting position for this large Hawk-moth, where the rear wings with their big eye spots are covered by the forewings. The colourful rear wings are generally only visible during flight or when the moth feels threatened.
Smerinthus ocellata ■ Ocsa, Hungary ■ The spots on the rear wing, know was “ocelli”, are intended to resemble eyes. When the moth feels threatened, it will flash these spots to confuse a predator, making it think it is being watched by a larger animal. Studies have shown these spots are quite effective at deterring predation.
Deilephila elpenor ■ Ocsa, Hungary ■ The caterpillars of this beautiful sphinx moth resemble an elephant’s trunk, hence the common name. It is widespread throughout the palearctic and typically produces only one brood per year (univoltine). It is strictly nocturnal with very sensitive night vision, and can even distinguish color at night.
Melitaea cinxia ■ Budakeszi, Hungary ■ This small fritillary is found across Europe and likes dry, grassy meadows. It is named after 17th century British entomologist Lady Eleanor Glanville. When she passed away, some of her relatives, unhappy with her will, tried to get it set aside on account of insanity. Their reasoning? “None but those who were deprived of their senses would go in pursuit of butterflies.” :D :D
Polyommatus icarus ■ Dabas, Hungary ■ Female (left) and male (right). As the name suggests, this is the most widespread of the blues, being found throughout the palearctic in grassy habitats. It flies from April through September.
Diacrisia sannio ■ Male ■ Dabas, Hungary ■ This moth is on the wing during June and July. The males are often active during the day but the females are primarily nocturnal.
Siona lineata ■ Budakeszi, Hungary ■ This largish moth is often mistaken for a butterfly because of the wing shape and because it often flies around during the day. One can tell, however, by looking at the antennae. Butterflies always have a bulbous end on the antenna, a characteristic that is lacking in most moths.
Polyommatus bellargus ■ Female ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ This small butterfly is on the wing in May and June and likes warm, sunny places with calcareous soil. It overwinters as a caterpillar and does not pupate until the following spring. The females are usually shown with orange spots on the hindwing, but their appearance can vary quite a bit.
Melitaea phoebe ■ Apácatorna, Hungary ■ The adults of this common European fritillary are on the wing from late April to September. They can produce up to three broods per year and, despite the name, the larva don’t feed exclusively on knapweed. They can also eat some thistles and plantains.
Patton's Tiger Moth
Hyphoraia testudinaria ■ Apácatorna, Hungary ■ One of the smaller tiger moths, but no less spectacular than its cousins. It is not named after U.S. General George S. Patton, but after British lepidopterist Sarah Patton.
Plebejus argyrognomon ■ Apaj, Hungary ■ This small butterfly is found in southeast Europe to central Asia. It has a wide variety of food plants and usually produces two broods per year (bivoltine). Although this specimen has a deformed wing, it didn’t impede its ability to fly.
Pale Shoulder Moth
Aconta lucida ■ Apaj, Hungary ■ A tiny, but very striking moth. The larva feed on mallow, field bindweed and ground ivy and spend the winter as a pupa in the top layer of the soil.
Lycaena phlaeas ■ Apaj, Hungary ■ One of the most widespread and common coppers in Europe. It can produce more than one brood per year, and later broods can have a darker appearance than early spring individuals. The males can be territorial, staking out a patch of ground and chasing away all rivals.
Lycaena tityrus ■ Male ■ Sárbogárd, Hungary ■ This small butterfly likes grassy, flowery meadows and dry shrub. It can produce several broods per year, especially if the weather is warmer.
Neptis sappho ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ Locally common in southeast Europe, this species ranges through much of southern Asia. Its bold black and white livery and unique gliding style of flight makes it quite noticeable in the field.
Erynnis tages ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ This species is aptly named. A tiny, easily-overlooked butterfly that is the same colour as dried leaves, it is very difficult to initially see until it flies. It is widespread in Europe and is generally univoltine with the adults on the wing from April to June.
Large Chequered Skipper
Heteropterus morpheus ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ One of the ways to spot this skipper in woodland clearings is by its distinctive flight. Unlike most skipper’s direct flight, this one has a very jerky, bouncy flight not unlike that of the Meadow Brown.
Large Chequered Skipper
Heteropterus morpheus ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ An uncommon skipper found in scattered populations throughout Europe. It is univoltine with the adults on the wing in late June and early July.
Cucullia verbasci ■ Larva ■ Dunavarsány, Hungary ■ As the name suggests, this voracious caterpillar is partial to mullein although it will eat other species such as figwort. It can spend up to two or three years as a pupa in the soil before it emerges into a plain brown adult.
Coenonympha glycerion glycerion ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ A small univoltine butterfly of grassy woodland clearings.
Zerynthia polyxena ■ Halásztelek, Hungary ■ A striking butterfly that is locally common from southeastern Europe to Kazakhstan. In Hungary, the adults are on the wing for only about two or three weeks in late April. The caterpillars feed only on the deadly poisonous European Birthwort.
Euphydrias maturna ■ Male ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ The females are finicky about where they will lay their eggs. Only on European Ash and only on saplings under three meters tall. This combined with habitat loss means the species is considered vulnerable. The number 9. printed on the underside of the wing indicates this specimen belongs to a monitored population.
Euphydrias maturna ■ Male ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ Found in scattered populations mostly in Eastern Europe, this butterfly is on the IUCN red list of vulnerable species. Habitat loss seems to be the main culprit for the decline in population.
Macrothylacia rubi ■ Larva ■ Pátka, Hungary ■ Fox Moth caterpillars can often be found, like this specimen, basking in the sun on a patch of bare earth. The long hairs are intended to make them unpalatable to predators. They overwinter as a larva in loose soil or leaf litter and do not pupate until the early spring. I am always amazed at how these soft bodied creatures with tiny body mass can survive extended periods of subzero temperatures in the winter, but somehow they do.
Mecyna flavalis ■ Ocsa, Hungary ■ This small, handsome Crambidae moth is primarily nocturnal and is on the wing in July and August.
Mother of Pearl
Pleuroptya ruralis ■ Ocsa, Hungary ■ One of the larger members of the extensive grass moth family (Crambidae), this shiny moth is active at night and frequently comes to light. The larva feed on stinging nettle.
Great Oak Beauty
Hypomecis roboraria ■ Male ■ Ocsa, Hungary ■ The large, featherlike antennae identify this specimen as a male. This is one of the larger European Geometridae moths and is beautifully camouflaged when resting on tree bark. It is nocturnal and is found mostly in deciduous forests as the larva feed on oak leaves.
Aricia agestis ■ Berettyóújfalu, Hungary ■ A common and widespread European butterfly, it seems to be more numerous late in the season.
Euproctis similis ■ Female ■ Ocsa, Hungary ■ Pure, intense white characterizes this small univoltine moth. It gets its common name from the golden tip to the abdomen, unfortunately not visible in this photo. During breeding season, the males will stick their yellow butts in the air above the folded wings.
Chiasmia clathrata ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ The bold checkerboard pattern and raised wings at rest identify this common European moth. It produces two generations per year and the preferred larval food plant is lucerne (ie: alfalfa).
Catarhoe cuculata ■ Ocsa, Hungary ■ This small member of the carpet moth family is on the wing in July and August. The larva feed on Galium (bedstraw) and spend the winter as a pupa. The adults are somewhat more colourful than this photo indicates, with a chestnut brown streak through the “mantle” around the shoulders. It is not really visible in this photo because of the poor lighting.
Pyrausta cingulata ■ Ocsa, Hungary ■ The Grass and Snout Moth family (Crambidae) contains approximately 11,500 species worldwide. Many, like this tiny moth don’t have common names.
Lasiocampa trifolii ■ Male ■ Ocsa, Hungary ■ The eggar family of moths are large, thickset furry moths, generally brown in colour. The branched, feathery antennae indicates this specimen is a male. Those antennae contain sensors to detect female pheromones from as far away as several hundred meters.
Pelurga comitata ■ Ocsa, Hungary ■ Not sure where the spinach moths get their common name from as they are not coloured like spinach, nor do the larva feed on spinach. I couldn’t even find an answer to this burning question on the internet, so it shall remain a mystery. This moth produces a single brood per year that is on the wing in July and August. The caterpillars pupate by October and spend the winter as a pupa buried in the soil or leaf litter.
Miltochrista miniata ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ This small, attractive moth is found across most of Europe and Asia. It prefers woodland habitat and the adults are on the wing in July and August.
Lesser Spotted Fritillary
Melitaea trivia ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ The European distribution of this small fritillary is only in the extreme south… Spain, Italy and the Balkans. Hungary and Slovakia is the absolute northern limit of its normal range.
Grammodes stolida ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ This small, striking moth has a wide range in Africa and Asia. In Europe it is generally only found in the southern part of the continent, but individuals can wander as for north as Finland in the late summer.
Duke of Burgundy
Hamearis lucina ■ Soponya, Hungary ■ Until recently classified as a fritillary, this small butterfly is the sole European representative of the metalmarks, a family of butterflies found mostly in the tropics. An usual trait of this species is that the males have only four functional legs, the front legs being reduced to vestiges.
Mythimna pallens ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ This common moth produces about two broods per year and overwinters as a larva.
Colias crocea ■ Gerjen, Hungary ■ This is a “helice” form female. It is paler than the standard form and comprises about five to ten percent of the population. It can be found on the wing until late October if the weather is nice.
Pyrausta purpuralis ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ This very small, but intensely colourful member of the extensive grass moth family is active both day and night.
Helicoverpa armigera ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ As the common name suggests, the larva of this species is a major agricultural pest. It is known as the Scarce Bordered Straw moth in England.
Polygonia c-album ■ Gerjen, Hungary ■ A common woodland butterfly in Europe. The undersides of the wings are a dull, dark brown, so with wings folded it looks like a dead leaf.
Vanessa atalanta ■ Gerjen, Hungary ■ A very common butterfly, but I couldn’t resist a photo of such an intense splash of colour on a late October day.
Argynnis pandora ■ Female ■ Ocsa, Hungary ■ I presume this large fritillary gets its name from the reddish patches on the underside of the upper wing. The broad white bar on the underside of the hindwing identifies this specimen as a female.
Argynnis pandora ■ Female ■ Ocsa, Hungary ■ Europe’s largest fritillary is generally found in the southern half of the continent and North Africa.
Gonepteryx rhamni ■ Male ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ A widespread and common butterfly of Europe. It is often one of the first butterflies to be seen in the spring as many adults hibernate over the winter.
Lasiommata megera ■ Csanytelek, Hungary ■ A widespread and common European butterfly. The shape and thickness of the dark lines on the forewing identify this specimen as a female.
Campaea margaritata ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ Europe has so many brown moths, but few green ones, making green moth ID relatively easy. This beauty is the color of a frozen margarita which I am sure accounts for its specific epithet. :D
Eilema complana ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ This moth is scarce in Britain, from whence comes the common name, but not so rare in continental Europe.
Macaria alternata ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ I’m not sure why a relatively drab moth would have “peacock” in its common name. My favorite feature of this small moth is the black marks that look like cigarette burns near the wing tips.
Box Tree Moth
Cydalima perspectalis ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ This east Asian native arrived in Germany about 2006, and is now spreading across Europe. It was first noted in Hungary in 2011. There are two colour variants as shown here, with the white version (left) being much more common than the brown version.
Watsonalla binaria ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ As the name suggests, this common moth is found mostly in oak forests as oak leaves are the preferred larval foodplant. It produces two generation per year, one in the spring, and a second in summer.
Angerona prunaria ■ Male ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ The females of this large moth are a dull yellow, and larger than the males. It can often be found flying around during the day, where it may be mistaken for a butterfly because of the shape.
Acronicta psi ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ So named because of the dagger shaped markings on its wings, this member of the Noctuid family can be found from Eurpe and North Africa to central Asia.
Purple Barred Yellow
Lythria purpuraria ■ Male ■ Budapest, Hungary
Pheosia tremula ■ Female ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ A large, strictly nocturnal moth that prefers wet poplar woodlands, the Swallow Prominent, like most of the Prominent family, are unable to feed as adults.
Euplagia quadripunctata ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ Black and white or cream striped forewings, and brightly colored underwings is a typical pattern for many of the tiger moth family. The Jersey Tiger is univoltine, meaning it produces only one brood per year, and it overwinters as a larva. The caterpillars don’t pupate until spring.
Eilema sororcula ■ Inárcs, Hungary ■ Warm orange color contrasting with black legs, and a distinct angle along the outer edge of the forewing indentify this small moth of deciduous woodlands.
Ectropis crepuscularia ■ Inárcs, Hungary
Ruddy Carpet Moth
Catarhoe rubidata ■ Inárcs, Hungary
Heart and Dart
Agrotis exclamationis ■ Inárcs, Hungary ■ A relatively common moth with a huge range, extending from Ireland all the way to Japan. The distinctive common and scientific names come from the diagnostic marks on the forewings.
White Plume Moth
Pterophorus pentadactyla ■ Rétimajor, Hungary ■ This micro-moth is a bit tough to get a decent photo of because it is such a pure, intense white. Hard to show contrast.
Idaea moniliata ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary
Dysauxes ancilla ■ Budakeszi, Hungary ■ A small moth found in southeast Europe, Asia Minor and the Caucasus Mountains.
Alucita sp. ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ The wings of this micro-moth are divided into several long plumes that resemble feathers, although it is hard to see them separately unless the wings are widely spread. Not sure which species this is, except that it is likely not A. hexadactyla.
Hyloicus pinastri ■ Törökbálint, Hungary ■ The plainest of the European Sphingidae.
Pediasia contaminella ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ A micro-moth in the extensive grass moth family (Crambidae). I don’t know the background behind its very strange common and scientific name.
Euclidia glyphica ■ Bugyi, Hungary ■ One of the commoner day-flying moths in Hungary.
Emmelia trabealis ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ A tiny moth, but easily recognizable because of its distinctive zebra stripes.
Dysgonia algira ■ Budaörs, Hungary ■ The pinched grey bars across the forewing are diagnostic of this southern European species.
Case Bearer Moth
Coleophora sp. ■ Budaörs, Hungary ■ This tiny and colourful micro-moth has me stumped. Definitely a Case Bearer moth in the Coleophora genus, but I just don’t know if it is C. trifoli, C. frischella or C. alcyonipennella.
Six Spot Burnet
Zygaena filipendulae ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ A small but spectacular day-flying moth. Burnets are unusual in that they have clubbed antennae similar to butterflies.
Cossus cossus ■ Imago (left), larva (right) ■ Budapest / Rétimajor, Hungary ■ This large, heavy, primitive moth gets its common name from the pungent odor of the larva, which bore into, and eat wood. As extracting nutrients from cellulose is a long, arduous process, the larvae can take two or three years before they pupate.
Epicallia villica ■ Kerekegyháza, Hungary
Asteroscopus sphinx ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ A medium sized furry moth that spends the winter as an egg, spring as a larva, summer and fall as a pupa, and the adults only emerge from late October to early December.
Phragmatobia fuliginosa ■ Bugyi, Hungary ■ This common, polyvoltine moth needs to be in motion to reveal its great colour scheme.
Pyrausta purpuralis ■ Bugyi, Hungary ■ A very small but spectacular moth, P. purpuralis prefers drier grasslands, and is active both during the day and night.
Catoptria pinella ■ Bugyi, Hungary ■ A tiny member of the extensive Crambidae family.
Anania coronata ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ This member of the grass moth family (Crambidae) has another, much cooler common name - Crowned Phlyctaenia - but I didn’t use it here because I couldn’t figure out how to pronounce it! :D
Laspeyria flexula ■ Budapest, Hungary
Silver Barred Moth
Deltote bankiana ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ The bold double V pattern is diagnostic of this species. If only all small moths were this easy to identify!
Laothoe populi ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ My favorite group of moths are the Sphingidae - the hawkmoths. They are big, flashy and look like hummingbirds in flight. This particular species does not feed as an adult. It just sleeps, flies around, has sex and that’s about it.
Setaceous Hebrew Character
Xestia c-nigrum ■ Dunaszentbenedek, Hungary ■ This moth’s strange common name comes from the black markings on the back which are supposed to resemble a Hebrew letter.
Habrosyne pyritoides ■ Dunaszentbenedek, Hungary
Thyatira batis ■ Dunaszentbenedek, Hungary ■ Great name for a great looking moth.
Elophila nymphaeata ■ Dunaszentbenedek, Hungary ■ This micro-moth is usually found near water as the larva are entirely aquatic. The caterpillars build a protective case of leaf fragments which they use to float on the water.
Ematurga atomaria ■ Male (right) Female (left) ■ Budakeszi, Hungary ■ This common European moth varies in color from almost white to very dark brown.
Rivula sericealis ■ Budakeszi, Hungary
Mythimna albipuncta ■ Budakeszi, Hungary ■ Not hard to see where this small moth gets its common (and scientific) name.
Catocala nupta ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ At rest, this large moth almost never shows its spectacular scarlet underwings. This one just gave me a tiny peek, and then flew off.
Ecpyrrhorrhoe rubiginalis ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ Grass Moth is a generic term for any one of the 11,600 species in the family Crambidae. I use it here only because this Eastern European species doesn’t have a common name.
Philereme transversata ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ A medium sized, univoltine moth widespread in Europe.
Idaea aversata ■ Budaörs / Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ This moth comes in two distinct forms, the plain form on the left and the ribboned form on the right. The ribboned form tends to favor woodlands, while the plain form is found in more open country.
Cosmorhoe ocellata ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary
Clostera curtula ■ Male ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ Not hard to see how this great looking moth gets its common name.
Phragmataecia castaneae ■ Male ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary
Nemophora degeerella ■ Male ■ Kövágóörs, Hungary ■ Male Longhorn Moths have antennae four times as long as their body. They are tiny, only about 10 mm long, but what they lack in size, they make up for in bling. :)
Lesser Fiery Copper
Lycaena thersamon ■ Male ■ Zánka, Hungary ■ A southeastern European specialty.
Clouded Border Moth
Lomaspilis marginata ■ Halásztelek, Hungary
Small Yellow Underwing
Panemeria tenebrata ■ Rétimajor, Hungary ■ A tiny, day-flying moth.
Macrothylacia rubi ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ While testing my new moth light for the first time, this female obliged me by laying a bunch of eggs right next to the light.
Lithostege griseata ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ One of the drabber denizens of the forest.
Zerynthia polyxena ■ Halásztelek, Hungary
European Peacock Butterfly
Aglais io ■ Szabadszállás, Hungary ■ Many adults hibernate over the winter, so it is one of the first butterflies to appear in the spring.
Melanargea galathea ■ Copulating pair ■ Dinnyés, Hungary ■ A medium-sized European butterfly of high summer, the adults appear around mid to late June, and are gone by early August.
Papilio machaon machaon ■ Nominate subspecies ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ One of the more easily recognizable butterfly species, the Swallowtail is native to the Palearctic, but it is also widespread in North America.
Iphiclides podalirius ■ Kunpeszér, Hungary ■ Despite the name, a reasonably common butterfly in central and southern continental Europe.
Pararge aegeria tircis ■ Halásztelek, Hungary ■ This subspecies of the Speckled Wood, found from Central Europe east to Central Asia, is much less colorful than the orangy nominate form found in Western Europe.
Vanessa cardui ■ Budaörs, Hungary ■ Widespread in the northern hemisphere, the Painted Lady is highly migratory, ranging up to the Arctic circle in summer.
Argynnis paphia ■ Male ■ Újsolt, Hungary ■ The second largest European fritillary, it can be found from Spain to Japan. It lay its eggs in crevices in tree bark, where the caterpillars hibernate over the winter.
Queen of Spain Fritillary
Issoria lathonia ■ Solt Járás-Puszta, Hungary ■ A widespread resident butterfly of Europe
Lasiommata megera ■ Kunpeszer, Hungary ■ This common European butterfly gets its name from it habit of sunning itself on walls, rocks, tree trunks and bare patches of earth.
Nymphalis polychloros ■ Kunpeszer, Hungary ■ April appearance with tattered and worn wing edges indicate this specimen likely hibernated over the winter.
Pyrgus malvae ■ Gönc, Hungary
Pseudopanthera macularia ■ Dunakeszi, Hungary ■ A common moth in European woodlands in early spring.
Coleas crocea ■ Kiskunság National Park, Hungary
Lasiocampa trifoli ■ Male ■ Pusztaszer, Hungary ■ A medium sized, furry moth of Europe and Asia Minor, the Grass Eggar is univoltine, meaning it produces only one brood per year.
Pale Grass Eggar
Lasiocampa trifoli flava ■ Male ■ Pusztaszer, Hungary ■ A straw colored form of the Grass Eggar.
Hepialus sylvina ■ Érd, Hungary ■ The larvae of the colourful Orange Swift typically take two years to pupate. Once they emerge as adults, they don’t eat, as they have no functioning mouth parts for feeding.
Phlogophora meticulosa ■ Budaörs, Hungary
Nine Spotted Moth
Amata phegea ■ Albertirsa, Hungary ■ Common in southern Europe during June and July, this small and colourful member of the tiger moth family is active during the day.
Vanessa atalanta ■ Naszály, Hungary
Melanargia galathea ■ Ocsa, Hungary
Synanthedon vespiformis ■ Female ■ Naszály, Hungary ■ With a black and yellow banded abdomen, transparent wings, and fluff on the legs which resembles pollen, this Sesiidae moth is a master of Batesian mimicry. Pretending to be a bad-ass wasp or bee allows it to be active in daylight.
Endotrichia flammealis ■ Budaörs, Hungary
Lesser Purple Emperor
Apatura ilia clytie ■ Rácalmás, Hungary ■ The clytie form of this species is much lighter and more orangy than the nominate form.
Lesser Purple Emperor
Apatura ilia clytie ■ Rácalmás, Hungary ■ This is the same butterfly as the previous photo, but different light conditions can make the purple iridescence disappear.
Lesser Purple Emperor
Apatura ilia clytie ■ Rácalmás, Hungary ■ Picking up minerals with its bright yellow tongue.
Araschnia levana ■ This small European butterfly has two distinct appearances. The first brood of the year, active in April and May (known as form levana) is bright orange. By mid to late June, the second brood appears (known as form prorsa) and it is dark brown with yellow bands.
Artogeia rapae ■ Rácalmás, Hungary
Small Dusty Wave
Idaea seriata■ Budaörs, Hungary
Lygephila craccae ■ Budaörs, Hungary
Silver Y Moth
Autographa gamma ■ Female ■ Budaörs, Hungary ■ Quivering her flattened wings and sticking her tongue out indicates that this female is releasing pheremones to attract a mate.
Hypsopygia costalis ■ Érd, Hungary
Least Yellow Underwing
Noctua interjecta ■ Kunpeszer, Hungary ■ Feeding during the day on Saw-wort.
Knot Grass Moth
Acronicta rumicis ■ Larva ■ Biatorbágy, Hungary
Ptilophora plumigera ■ Male ■ Lajosmizse, Hungary ■ This moth overwinters as an egg, spends spring and summer as a larva, fall as a pupa, and the adults don’t emerge until November and December.
Great Banded Grayling
Brintesia circe ■ Nagyharsány, Hungary ■ When resting on a lichen covered rock, this grayling is a master of camouflage.
Angerona prunaria ■ Female ■ Cserépfalú, Hungary ■ Only the males of this large moth are orange, with the ladies being a dull yellow.
Timandra comae ■ Male ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ Somewhat larger than the average wave moth, it is not hard to see where this species gets its common name.
Catocala nupta ■ Budapest, Hungary ■ Unfortunately, the colourful red and black banded hindwings that give this large moth its name are usually hidden when it is at rest.
Lithophane leautieri ■ Budaörs, Hungary ■ The field guides indicate the flight period for this moth is late September to November, and it is rarely seen during the day. So I was surprised to find this specimen out and about in the afternoon of a brutally hot day in mid-July. I guess it was on vacation. :)
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