Madeiran Grayling Hipparchia maderensis (Bethune-Baker, 1891)

Superfamily: Papilionoidea Family: Nymphalidae Status: Endemic to Madeira

Recommended tour to watch this butterfly

Laurel Forest Tour (mainly between mid-July and September)
Note: when booking please state your interest in butterflies.


A medium-large dark brown butterfly with females upperside fore-wings showing two eye-spots on a yellow patch while in males these markings are obscured by a dark brown suffusion. Their undersides are mottled greyish-brown with a white discal band on the hind-wings, more distinctive on males

Host & Food Plants

Madeira Grayling larva feeds on Gramineae such as Agrostis castellana, Aira praecox, Aira caryophyllea and Holcus sp.(Aguiar & Karsholt, 2006)

Habitat & behaviour

Hipparchia maderensis typical habitat is on highlands above 1000 metres of altitude (Aguiar & Karsholt, 2006).
On warm summer days it is common to find them in big numbers basking on the warm asphalt where several are run over by cars.

Distribution in Atlantic Islands of Macaronesia:

Only occurs in Madeira Island (Aguiar & Karsholt, 2006)


Regional status according to Aguiar & Karsholt, 2008: Endemic to Madeira
Regional status according to Aguiar & Karsholt, 2006: Endemic to Madeira
Regional status according to Wakeham-Dawson et al., 2001: Endemic
Status according to the European Red List of Butterflies, 2010: Least Concern

Join Madeira Wildlife Monthly Newsletter. All the updates on your email every month.