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Butterflies in Strandja

Blue Argus Butterfly

If you are a butterfly fan, you’ll find Strandja Nature Park in Bulgaria a fantastic holiday destination. Almost all the grasslands in the park are unimproved, and support a very diverse insect life.  Moreover, the location of the park on the bridge of two continents means you can see some very special species here.

Strandja Nature Park has been designated as a Prime Butterfly Area in Bulgaria. Prime Butterfly Areas are the most important sites for butterflies in the country designated by Butterfly Conservation Europe. Some of the threatened species that occur in the park include Southern Festoon Zerynthia polyxena, Lesser spotted Fritillary Melitae trivia, Marsh Fritillary Euphydryas aurinia , Large Copper Lycaena dispar and the Large Blue Maculinea arion.

Southern Festoon photographed in Strandja

Southern Festoon - Zerynthia polyxena

Lesser Spotted Fritillary photographed in Strandja

Lesser Spotted Fritillary - Melitae trivia

Eastern Butterfly Specialities

Some of the eastern specialities include the lovely and showy Freyer’s purple Emperor Apatura metis that we have seen in several places in the valley of the Veleka river. This species lays its eggs on the leaves of mature White Willow trees that line this pristine river.

We also spotted the Eastern Festoon Zerynthia cerisy along the black Sea coast. The form we saw was very light, with the ‘tail’ missing, much like the cretica subspecies. It lays its eggs on Birthwort Aristolochia clematitis.

Strandja is also very important for the Grecian copper Lycaena ottomana that breeds in flowery grasslands of which there are plenty in this Bulgarian nature park. We saw it in the Veleka river valley where its host plant Sheep’s sorrel Rumex acetosella is abundant. Here we also saw the  Blue Argus Ultraaricia anteros that uses several geranium species as host plant. This species is local in the Balkan Peninsula.

We particularly liked spotting Meleager’s Blue Meleageria daphnis, with its frivolous scalloped wings! It’s host plant is Crown Vetch Coronilla varia, and it flies a bit later than many other species. We saw this butterfly species at the end of July in the West part of Strandja.

Blue Argus photographed in Strandja

Blue Argus - Ultraaricia anteros

Meleager's Blue photographed in Strandja

Meleager's Blue - Meleageria daphnis

So many butterfly species to see in Strandja…

Of course there are many more butterfly species to see here. Especially fritillaries like Cardinal, High Brown, Silver-washed, Heath, Knapweed, Glanville, Spotted and Lesser Spotted are all common throughout the park.  And of course the butterflies are not the only attraction. Strandja is also rich in dragonflies. It is one of the few areas where you can see the Odalisque Epallage fatime in Europe. We also have a moth light trap here, so mothing is also a possibility; the moth diversity is amazing.

Cardinal Fritillary photographed in Strandja

Cardinal Fritillary - Argynnis pandora

Odalisque photographed in Strandja

Odalisque - Epallage fatime

Moth and butterfly holidays Bulgaria

We can organise small group butterfly holidays to this unique corner of Europe for people interested in seeing its butterfly life. And for couples, a tailor-made butterfly holiday would be ideal. You can explore at your own pace with pre-booked accommodation in local B&Bs, rental car and detailed information about where to go. As a bonus, by coming on holiday to Strandja you help to conserve this unique wildlife paradise. For every visitor to Strandja we make a donation to the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation. This organisation does a lot of good work and has been working tirelessly for the past 10 years to protect Strandja’s wildlife.

Please contact us for more information about butterfly holidays to Bulgaria!

Silver-washed Fritillary photographed in Strandja

Silver-washed Fritillary - Argynnis paphia

Lang's short-tailed blue photographed in Strandja

Lang's Short-tailed Blue - Leptotes pirithous

Spotted Fritillary photographed in Strandja

Spotted Fritillary - Melitaea didyma

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