Vista Alegre Baserria Birds aren't the only creatures flying around the farm
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Birds aren't the only creatures flying around the farm PDF Print E-mail


Many different sorts of butterflies and moths can be seen flying

around Vista Alegre Farm, the number depending on the time of

year and the time of day or night. Some butterflies and moths

are more colourful than others, some bigger than others. Here

are some examples:




Scientific name: Arctia caja
Common names: Basque:Ijitoa
Castillian: Gitana
English: Garden tiger moth
This moth uses both the startling pattern on its wings and the bright red of its lower wings to scare off possible predators.



Scientific name: Opisthograptis luteolata
Common names: Basque:
Castillian: Polilla de color azufre
English: Brimstone moth

The brownish green caterpillar of the Brimstone moth has a “horn” on its back.




Scientific names:

Autographa gamma

Plusia gamma

Common names: Basque:
Castillian: Plusia o medidor
English: Silver Y moth

The Latin name comes from the white Y shaped mark on each wing, Y being gamma in Greek.

Scientific name: Pseudoips prasinana
Common names: Basque
English: Green Silver-lines
Green Silver-lines caterpillars feed on oaks and silver birches.


Scientific name: Odonestis pruni
Common names: Basque:
English: Plum lappet

The female is bigger than the male: the wingspan of male

Plum lappets is 30-50mm, whereas the wingspan of females

is 50-60mm.



Scientific name: Lasiocampa quercus
Common names: Basque:
Castillian: Bombix de la encina
English: Oak eggar

The male of this species flies

mainly at nighttime whereas

the female mainly flies during

the day


Scientific name: Lymantria monarcha
Common names: Basque
Castillian: Monja
English: Black arches

This moth lays its

eggs singly or in

pairs on the bark of



Scientific name: Inachis io
Common names: Basque

Pauma tximeleta

Eguargiko pauma

Castillian: Pavo real
English: Peacock
The “eyes” on the peacock butterfly’s wings help scare off possible predators.


Scientific name: Thyatira batis
Common names: Basque
Castillian: Capullitos de cerezo
English: Peach blossom
This species spends the whole winter as a chrysalis.


Scientific name: Pararge aegeria
Common names: Basque: Horma-tximeleta
Castillian: Maculada or

Mariposa de los muros

English: Speckled wood
The males of this species defend their territories.

As you can see not all butterflies and moths have common names in all languages. Scientists use the Latin names (in italics) in order to understand one another.


Do butterflies and moths have babies or lay

eggs? How long do butterflies and moths live?

Butterflies and moths don’t give birth to baby butterflies and

moths, but do lay eggs. However, butterflies and moths do not

emerge straight from these eggs.





Let’s look at the example of a very common butterfly on our farm,

particularly in our allotments given that its caterpillars love our


Large cabbage white

Pieris brassicae

The male and female place themselves tail end to tail end and the male passes packages of sperms to the female.

The female lays groups of around 40 (but sometimes up to 100)

yellow-orange coloured eggs on both sides of the leaves of, for

example, cabbages, at a rate of about 4 eggs per minute. The eggs

are laid directly onto the leaf, never on top of other eggs. The eggs

take one to two weeks to hatch depending on the temperature.

The caterpillar (larva) that emerges will live for about two and a half

weeks and will moult four times during this stage. Large cabbage white

butterfly caterpillars prefer the outer leaves of cabbages and eat in

groups of caterpillars, not alone. To deter predators they accumulate

toxic oils in their bodies.

In order to change into a butterfly or moth (metamorphosis) the

caterpillars close themselves in a capsule known as a pupa, or

specifically for butterflies, a chrysalis. The large white cabbage

butterfly chrysalis is usually found attached to a fence post, wall or

tree trunk for example. The chrysalis becomes a butterfly within about

two weeks in warm temperatures. If a second batch of eggs are laid

later in the year this stage of the butterfly life cycle is longer to

guarantee overwintering enclosed and thus protected as a


Our thanks to José Luis Viejo Montesinos and Gareth Edward King

from the Autonomous University of Madrid for their help identifying

these moths and butterflies.








Tximeleta bilakatzeko (metamorfosia), beldarra lore-begi baten barruan sartzen da, normalean hesola, pareta edo enbor bati lotuta egoten dena. Orain, krisalida deitzen da. Tenperatura epelekin, tximeleta bi asteren bueltan ateratzen da begi-loretik. Urteak aurrera egin ahala arrautzak bigarrenez erruten badira, azken fase horrek negu osoa eta gehiago iraungo du, 8 hilabete inguru.

Gure esker ona adierazi nahi diegu Madrilgo Unibertsitate Autonomoko José Luis Viejo Montesinos eta Gareth Edward Kingi tximeleta hauek identifikatzen emandako laguntzagatik.

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