Milkweed, Black Veined Brown
Distribution: Resident in the Canary Islands. Temporarily, possibly
permantely, resident in S Spain. Regular but infrequent visitor to W France and
SW UK and S Ireland.
Identification: Highly distinctive. A very large orange butterfly with
black veins. Similar only to the Plain Tiger, D. chrisippus from which it
is distinguished by its larger size, black veins and double row of white spots
in the black marginal area.
Flight time: All year where resident with reduced activity in S Spain
during the coldest months.
Habitat: Hot dry places near cultivation.
Behaviour: Possibly the world's most well known migrant, after several
mammals and birds. It is known for its enormous communal overwintering habits in
the cool hills at high altitude in Mexico. From here it migrates northwards
thousands of miles across N America to breed and the new generation, somehow,
finds its way down to the winter roosts.
Additional notes: I've never seen this species in Europe so all the
notes above are from the books and from my father's experience in Tenerife. I
have seen a few examples in Queensland, Australia in February and at many sites
in New England, USA in August but always in low numbers.