With about 210 species, Artvin is among the provinces with the greatest butterfly diversity in Turkey. What makes Artvin so important in terms of its butterfly fauna is the fact that at least a dozen seriously endangered species, identified as such in Europe, by the Red Data Book of European Butterflies published in 1999, live in Artvin. Finally, it must be added that several species of butterflies, have been seen only in Artvin province in Turkey.

Ahmet Baytas

Detailed Info

With about 210 species (nearly 60%  of all butterflies found in Turkey), Artvin is among the provinces with the greatest butterfly diversity in Turkey. During the summer months, one can see huge numbers of butterflies in virtually every village, pastureland, garden and orchard in all districts within the province, though the butterfly density is the greatest in open meadows on the south facing slopes of the Kackar Mountains, along the Barhal River, and in the Coruh Valley between Yusufeli and Kılıckaya. The Yaylalar Village in Yusufeli is one of the prime butterfly areas in Turkey, not only because of the diversity and density of its butterflies, but also because it is home to a number of rare species that are endangered in Europe. Some of the Turkish endemics are not too difficult to find in Artvin: one can find the Hi Blue (Polyommatus merhaba) in Coruh Valley, Hoppfer’s Blue (Polyommatus hoppferi) in the southern half of the province, Turkish Blue (Polyommatus turcicus) at high altitude meadows at the foothills of the Kackar Mountains, and the Larger Anatolian Blue (Polyommatus aedon) in the soutwestern corner of the province, especially in Yusufeli. However, it should be stressed that what makes Artvin so important in terms of its butterfly fauna is the fact that at least a dozen seriously endangered species, identified as such in Europe by the Red Data Book of European Butterflies published in 1999, live in Artvin. Among these are the well-known butterflies like the Apollo (Parnassius apollo), Large Blue (Glaucopsyche arion), Woodland Ringlet (Erebia medusa) and the Marsh Fritillary (Euphydryas aurina), rare species like the Yellow-legged Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis xanthomelas), Poseidon Blue (Polyommatus poseidon), Cinquefoil Skipper (Pyrgus cirsii) and the Eastern Orange Tip (Anthocharis damone), and Blues such as the Lesser Checkered Blue (Pseudophilotes vicrama), Bavius Blue (Pseudophilotes bavius), Green-underside Blue (Glaucopsyche alexis) and the Dusky Large Blue (Glaucopsyche nausithous). Though some of these species have either become extinct in Europe or are seriously endangered, they continue to thrive in many beautiful natural areas of Artvin, which still remain relatively unspoiled by agriculture, construction of dams, roads and buildings, and excessive use of pesticides and herbicides. However, it is a fact that projects such as the large dam planned to be built in Yusufeli will have a negative impact not only on our cultural but also on our entire natural heritage, including butterflies. Finally, it must be added that several species of butterflies – while neither endemic to Turkey nor threatened or endangered—have been seen only in Artvin province in Turkey. For example, during the last century, False Comma (Nymphalis vaualbum), a widespread species in northern Europe and North America, has been recorded in Turkey only around Meydancik in the province of Artvin. Also, in 1999 a Georgian Tawny Rockbrown (Psuedochazara gruensis) has been seen for the first time in Turkey, at an altitude of 2400m at the foothills of the Kackar Mountains.

Ahmet Baytas

Parnassius mnemosyneClouded Apollo
Parnassius nordmanniCaucasian Apollo
Parnassius apollo*Apollo
Iphiclides podalirusScarce Swallowtail
Papilio alexanorSouthern Swallowtail
Papilio machaonSwallowtail
Leptidea sinapisWood White
Anthocharis cardaminesOrange Tip
Anthocharis damone*Eastern Orange Tip
Aporia crataegiBlack-veined White
Pieris bowdeniBowden’s White
Pieris bryoniaeMountain Green-veined White
Pieris erganeMountain Small White
Pieris manniiSouthern Small White
Pieris napiGreen-veined White
Pieris rapaeSmall White
Pieris brassicaeLarge White
Pieris callidicePeak White
Pieris chloridiceSmall Bath White
Pontia edusaEastern (New) Bath White
Colias caucasicaBalkan (Caucasian) Clouded Yellow
Colias crocea(Dark) Clouded Yellow
Colias alfacariensisBerger's (Southern) Clouded Yellow
Colias thiosaMenetries’s Clouded Yellow
G. farinosaPowdered Brimstone
G. rhamniBrimstone
Lycaena alciphronPurple-shot Copper
Lycaena tityrusSooty Copper
Lycaena virgaureaeScarce Copper
Lycaena candensBalkan Copper
Lycaena phlaeasSmall Copper
Lycaena thersamonLesser Fiery Copper
Lycaena thetisFiery Copper
Favonius quercusPurple Hairstreak
Thecla betulaBrown Hairstreak
Satyrium acaciaeSloe Hairstreak
Satyrium ilicisIlex Hairstreak
Lampides boeticusLong-tailed Blue
Cupido argiadesShort-tailed Blue
Cupido osirisOsiris Blue
Glaucopsyche arion*Large Blue
Glaucopyche alconAlcon Blue
Pseudophilotes vicrama*Eastern Baton (Lesser Chequered) Blue
Pseudophilotes bavius*Bavius Blue
Scolitantides orion*Chequered Blue
Turanana endymionOdd-spot Blue
Plebeius eurypilusEastern Brown Argus
Plebeius idasIdas Blue
Plebeius pylaonZephyr Blue
Plebeius argusSilver-studded Blue
Plebeius pyrenaicusGavarnie Blue
Plebeius loewiiLoew’s Blue
Plebeius eumedonGeranium Argus
Plebeius anterosBlue Argus
Plebeius artaxerxesMountain Argus
Polyommatus semiargusEastern Mazarine Blue
Polyommatus bellargusAdonis Blue
Polyommatus corydoniusFalse Chalk-Hill Blue
Polyommatus daphnisMeleager’s Blue
Polyommatus coelestinusPontic Blue
Polyommatus amandusAmanda’s Blue
Polyommatus dorylasTurquoise Blue
Polyommatus aedonLarger Anatolian Blue
Polyommatus erosEros Blue
Polyommatus icarusCommon Blue
Polyommatus ripartiiRipart’s Anomalous Blue
Polyommatus iphigeniaChelmos (Iphigenia) Blue
Polyommatus phyllisPhyllis Blue
Polyommatus turcicusTurkish Blue
Polyommatus damonDamon’s Blue
Libythea celtisNettle-tree Butterfly
Limenitis reductaSouthern White Admiral
Thaleropis ioniaIonian Emperor
Nymphalis antiopaCamberwell Beauty
Nymphalis xanthomelas*Yellow-legged Tortoiseshell
Aglais urticaeSmall Tortoiseshell
Vanessa atalantaRed Admiral
Vanessa carduiPainted Lady
Polygonia c-albumComma Butterfly
Polygonia egeaSouthern Comma
Argynnis pandoraCardinal
Argynnis paphiaSilver-washed Fritillary
Argynnis adippeHigh Brown Fritillary
Argynnis aglajaDark Green Fritillary
Argynnis niobeNiobe Fritillary
Boloria euphrosynePearl-bordered Fritillary
Boloria caucasicaCaucasian Fritillary
Brenthis daphneMarbled Fritillary
Brenthis hecateTwin-spot Fritillary
Issoria lathoniaQueen of Spain Fritillary
Melitaea cinxiaGlanville Fritillary
Melitaea diaminaFalse Heath Fritillary
Melitaea didymaSpotted Fritillary
Melitaea triviaLesser Spotted Fritillary
Melitaea interruptaCaucasian Spotted Fritillary
Melitaea athaliaHeath Fritillary
Melitaea aureliaNickerl’s Fritillary
Euphydryas aurinia*Marsh Fritillary
Hipparchia pellucidaAnatolian Grayling
Hipparchia syriacaEastern (Syrian) Rock Grayling
Erebia aethiopsScotch Argus
Erebia graucasicaCaucasian Ringlet
Erebia hewitsoniiHewitson’s Ringlet
Erebia medusa*Woodland Ringlet
Erebia melancholicaAlpine Ringlet
Arethusana arethusaFalse Grayling
Chazara bischoffiOrange Hermit
Pseudochazara beroeFreyer’s Tawny Rockbrown
Pseudochazara geyeriGray Asian Grayling (Geyer’s Tawny Rockbr.)
Pseudochazara guriensisGeorgian Tawny Rockbrown
Hyponephele lycaonDusky Meadow (Steppe) Brown
Maniola jurtinaMeadow Brown
Coenonympha leanderRussian Heath
Coenonympha pamphilusSmall Heath
Coenonympha symphitaLederer’s Heath
Esperarge climeneIranian Argus
Lasiommata maeraLarge Wall Brown
Lasiommata petropolitanaNorthern Wall Brown
Pararge aegeriaSpeckled Wood
Carcharodus lavatheraeMarbled Skipper
Carcharodus flocciferusTufted Marbled Skipper
Carcharodus orientalisOriental Marbled Skipper
Carchadorus alceaMallow Skipper
Erynnis marloyiInky Skipper
Erynnis tagesDingy Skipper
Muschampia tessellumTessellated Skipper
Pyrgus alveusLarge Grizzled Skipper
Pyrgus cinaraeSandy Grizzled Skipper
Pyrgus jupeiCaucasian Skipper
Pyrgus melotisAegean Skipper
Pyrgus serratulaeOlive Skipper
Pyrgus sidaeYellow-banded Skipper
Spialia orbiferRed Underwing Skipper
Hesperia commaSilver-spotted Skipper
Ochlodes venatusLarge Skipper
Thymelicus hyraxLevantine Skipper
Thymelicus lineolaEssex Skipper
Thymelicus sylvestrisSmall Skipper

the last 25 years. While the scientific nomenclature is adopted from “Die Tagfalter der Türkei” by Hesselbarth et al., the English and Turkish names are borrowed from the Checklist of the “Butterflies of Turkey” by A. Kocak and M. Kemal.

Reference: Butterfly Conservation Strategy of Turkey


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