Orchids on Lesvos


Lesvos is also well-known for its orchids. Below is a complete list of orchids found on the island. In my book, A Birdwatching Guide to Lesvos, there is also a checklist which includes local flowering periods for many of commoner species.

Photo above right:
Lesbos Orchid Orphrys lesbis, an island endemic, near Andissa, April 2009 © Steve Dudley

Paul Manning (Wildlife of Lesvos) has built an orchid site guide. He has annotated a map of the island to show key sites. This includes lists of species found at each site with some notes on flowering periods for rarer or sought-after species, and species' names within the site lists linked to his own photos on his online flickr album. Its a great resource and one I'm sure that anyone interested in orchids will want to use when on the island. The online Google Map is best viewed in map mode.

Highlighted names will link to individual species images on Paul Manning's Lesvos orchid flickr gallery. Note, some species have more than one photo so its worth looking at Paul's site in more detail.

Cephalanthera damasonium Large White Helleborine
Cephalanthera longifolia Sword-leaved Helleborine
Cephalanthera rubra Red Helleborine
Cephalanthera epipactoides Spurred Helleborine
Epipactis microphylla Small-leaved Helleborine
Epipactis turcica Turkish Helleborine
Epipactis helleborine Broad-leaved Helleborine
Epipactis densifolia Dense-leaved Helleborine
Epipactis persica Persian Helleborine
Limodorum abortivum Violet Limodore
Limodorum abortivum var. albiflorum Violet Limodore
Listera ovata Twayblade
Neotinea maculata Dense-flowered
Spiranthes spiralis Autumn Lady's Tresses
Platanthera holmboei Holmboë's Butterfly
Dactylorhiza romana Roman Orchid
Dactylorhiza romana var. albifora Roman Orchid
Serapias parviflora Small-flowered Orchid
Serapias vomeracea Plough-share Orchid
Serapias bergonii Loose-flowered Plough-share Orchid
Serapias cordigera Heart-flowered Orchid
Anacamptis pyramidalis Pyramidal Orchid
Orchis palustris Bog Orchid
Orchis laxiflora Loose-flowered Orchid
Orchis morio ssp. morio Green-winged Orchid
Orchis morio ssp. picta Green-winged Orchid
Orchis papilionacea ssp. heroica Pink Butterfly Orchid
Orchis collina Fan-lipped Orchid
Orchis collina var. albiflora Fan-lipped Orchid
Orchis coriophora Bug Orchid
Orchis fragrance Fragrant Orchid
Orchis sancta Holy Orchid
Orchis sancta var. alba
Orchis quadripunctata Four-spotted Orchid
Orchis anatolica? Anatolian Orchid
Orchis pinetorum? Pinewood Orchid
Orchis provincialis Provence Orchid
Aceras (Orchis) anthropophorum Man Orchid
Orchis simia Monkey Orchid
Orchis purpurea? Lady Orchid
Orchis italica Naked Man Orchid
Orchis italica var. albiflora Naked Man Orchid
Orchis lactea Milky Orchid
Orchis tridentata Toothed Orchid
Himantoglossum affine Eastern Lizard Orchid
Himantoglossum caprinum Balkan Lizard Orchid
Himantoglossum verae Vera's Elegant Orchid
Ophrys iricolor Rainbow Orchid
Ophrys cinerephila Dull Orchid
Ophrys leucadica Dull Orchid
Ophrys attaviria
Ophrys phryganae Yellow Orchid
Ophrys sicula Yellow Orchid
Ophrys tenthredinifera ssp. leochroma Sawfly Orchid
Ophrys villosa Sawfly Orchid
Ophrys bombyliflora? Bumble Bee Orchid
Ophrys apifera Bee Orchid
Ophrys dodekanensis Woodcock Orchid
Ophrys minutula Elizabeth's Small-flowered Orchid
Ophrys orphanidea Woodcock Orchid
Ophrys homeri Homer's Orchid
Ophrys attica Carmel Orchid
Ophrys bucephala Carmel Orchid
Ophrys umbilicata Carmel Orchid
Ophrys reinholdii Reinhold's Orchid
Ophrys lesbis Lesbos Orchid (endemic)
Ophrys ferrum-equinum Horseshoe Orchid
Ophrys labiosa Horseshoe Orchid
Ophrys mammosa Mammosa Orchid
Ophrys spruneri? Spruner's Orchid

The following species may exist on the island, but great care is needed in their identification:
Orchis palustris ssp. pseudolaxiflora Bog Orchid
Orchis palustris ssp. dinsmorei Bog Orchid
Ophrys mesaritica
Ophrys parosica
Ophrys blitopertha
Ophrys persephonae
Ophrys sitiaca
Ophrys candica Kandia's Orchid
Ophrys halia Late Spider Orchid
Ophrys helios Late Spider Orchid
Ophrys heterochila Late Spider Orchid
Ophrys phrygia Woodcock Orchid
Ophrys calypsus

A downloadable version of the above list with flowering periods available here.

The above list was prepared by Paul Manning (Wildlife of Lesvos) and constructed using:
Orchids of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East by Pierre Delforge
The Bee Orchids of Greece by Zissis Antonopoulos
Field Guide to Orchids of Britain and Europe by Karl Peter Buttler
Orchids of Lesvos by Y.A. Karatzas & A. Karatza
Orchids of Lesvos by Brian & Eileen Anderson

Photo right: Limodorum abortivum, Achladeri, April 2004 © Steve Dudley

Many species can be found around Agiasos. For further information see here.

My thanks to
Paul Manning for his help in compiling the above list, the orchid info in my book, and for developing his excellent orchid site guide. See Paul's excellent Wildlife of Lesvos website which contains photo galleries including many orchids.

Orchids of Lesvos by Brian and Eileen Anderson (left) is available and although in Greek is useful.

Species lists (birds, dragonflies, etc)


A list of the selected mammals of Lesvos

Fallow Deer Dama dama scarce introduction
Persian Squirrel Sciunus anomalus common and widespread
Beech Marten Martes foine common but rarely seen
Weasel Mustela nivalis common and widespread
Lesser Mole Rat Spalax microphthalmus rarely subterranian species
Brown Hare Lepus capensis scarce
Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus scarce introduction
Red Fox Vulpes vulpes scarce but widespread
Otter Lutra lutra rare
Eastern Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus common and widespread
Brown Rat Rattus norvegicus common and widespread
Black Rat Rattus rattus scarce but widespread
House Mouse Mus musculus common and widespread
Common Shrew Sorex areneus common and widespread
Pipistrelle bat sp. Pipistrellus sp. common and widespread
Bat sp many bats spp. seen across the island
Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis common
Bottle-nosed Dolphin Tursiops truncatus scarce
Mediterranean Monk Seal Monachus monachus rare

Butterflies of Lesvos

Southern Comma Polygomum egea | Molivos, Lesvos | May 2007
© Steve Dudley

I've worked with Lazaros Pamperis (author of The Butterflies of Greece) and together we have drawn up the following lit of species for Lesvos -

Scarce Swallowtail Iphiclides podalirius (Linnaeus, 1758)

Swallowtail Papilio machaon Linnaeus, 1758

Southern Swallowtail Papilio alexanor Esper, 1800

Eastern Festoon Allancastria cerisy (Godart, 1824)

Falso Apollo Archon apollinus (Herbst, 1798)

Black-veined White Aporia crataegi (Linnaeus, 1758)

Large White Pieris brassicae (Linnaeus, 1758)

Small White Pieris rapae (Linnaeus, 1758)

Green-veined White Pieris napi (Linnaeus, 1758)

Balkan Green-veined White Pieris balcana Lorković, 1970

Krueper's Small White Pieris krueperi Staudinger, 1860

Eastern Bath White Pontia edusa (Fabricius, 1777)

Eastern Dappled White Euchloe ausonia (Hübner, 1806)

Orange Tip Anthocharis cardamines (Linnaeus, 1758)

Clouded Yellow Colias crocea (Fourcroy, 1785)

Powdered Brimstone Gonepteryx farinosa ( Zeller, 1847)

Cleopatra Gonepteryx cleopatra (Linnaeus, 1767)

Wood White Leptidea sinapis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Plain Tiger Danaus chrysippus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Nettle-tree Butterfly Libythea celtis (Laicharting, 1782)

Purple Hairstreak Neozephyrus quercus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Sloe Hairstreak Satyrium acaciae (Fabricius, 1787)

Ilex Hairstreak Satyrium ilicis (Esper, 1779)

Blue-spot Hairstreak Satyrium spini (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)

Green Hairstreak Callophrys rubi (Linnaeus, 1758)

Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas (Linnaeus, 1761)

Purple-shot Copper Lycaena alciphron (Rottemburg, 1775)

Long-tailed Blue Lampides boeticus (Linnaeus, 1767)

Lang's Short-tailed Blue Leptodes pirithous (Linnaeus, 1767)

Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Green-underside Blue Glaucopsyche alexis (Poda, 1761)

Eastern Baton Blue Pseudophilotes vicrama (Moore, 1865)

Brown Argus Aricia agestis (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)

Amanda's Blue Polyommatus amanda (Schneider, 1792)

Common Blue Polyommatus icarus (Rottemburg, 1775)

Two-tailed Pasha Charaxes jasius (Linnaeus, 1767)

Southern White Admiral Limenitis reducta Staudinger, 1901

Large Tortoiseshell Nymphalis polychloros (Linnaeus, 1758)

Camberwell Beauty Nymphalis antiopa (Linnaeus, 1758)

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta (Linnaeus, 1758)

Painted Lady Vanessa cardui (Linnaeus, 1758)

Comma Polygonia c-album (Linnaeus, 1758)

Southern Comma Polygonia egea (Cramer, 1775)

Cardinal Argynnis pandora (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)

Silver-washed Fritillary Argynnis paphia (Linnaeus, 1758)

Queen of Spain Fritillary Issoria lathonia (Linnaeus, 1758)

Knapweed Fritillary Melitaea phoebe (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)

Aegean Fritillary* Melitaea telona Fruhstorfer, 1908

Spotted Fritillary Melitaea didyma (Esper, 1778)

Lesser Spotted Fritillary Melitaea trivia (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)

Balkan Marbled White Melanargia larissa (Geyer, 1828)

Eastern Rock Grayling Hipparchia syriaca (Staudinger, 1871)

Grecian (Southern) Grayling* Hipparchia senthes (Frühstorfer, 1908)

Aegean Grayling Hipparchia mersina (Staudinger, 1871)

Persian Grayling Hipparchia pellucida (Stauder, 1923)

Freyer's Grayling Hipparchia fatua (Freyer, 1844)

White-banded Grayling Pseudochazara anthelea (Hübner, 1824)

Great Banded Grayling Brintesia circe (Fabricius, 1775)

Persian Meadow Brown* Maniola telmessia (Zeller, 1847)

Turkish Meadow Brown* Maniola megala (Oberthür, 1909)

Oriental Meadow Brown Hyponephele lupina (O. Costa, 1836)

Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus (Linnaeus, 1771)

Small Heath Coenonympha pamphilus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria (Linnaeus, 1758)

Wall Brown Lasiommata megera (Linnaeus, 1758)

Large Wall Brown Lasiommata maera (Linnaeus, 1758)

Lattice Brown Kirinia roxelana (Cramer, 1777)

Grizzled Skipper Pyrgus malvae (Linnaeus, 1758)

Orbed Red-underwing Skipper Spialia orbifer (Hübner, 1823)

Mallow Skipper Carcharodus alceae (Esper, 1780)

Oriental Marbled Skipper Carcharodus orientalis (Reverdin, 1913)

Inky Skipper Erynnis marloyi (Boisduval, 1834)

Lulworth Skipper Thymelicus acteon (Rottemburg, 1775)

Small Skipper Thymelicus sylvestris (Poda, 1761)

Levantine Skipper Thymelicus hyrax (Lederer, 1861)

Mediterranean Skipper Gegenes nostrodamus (Fabricius, 1793)

Millet Skipper Pelopidas thrax (Hübner, 1821)

* No popular English name so I have given them an English name based on either existing other language name (e.g. Aegean Fritillary taken from the French name) or distribution.

The following species have been reported from Lesvos but remain unconfirmed. If you have any image of any of these species please send to Lesvos Birding.

Southern Festoon Zerynthia polyxena (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)

Southern Small White Pieris mannii (Mayer, 1851)

Small Bath White Pontia chloridice (Hübner, 1813)

Berger's Clouded Yellow Colias alfacariensis Ribbe, 1905

Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni

Scarce Copper Lycaena virgaureae (Linnaeus, 1758)

Grecian Copper Lycaena ottomanus (Lefèbvre, 1830)

Sooty Copper Lycaena tityrus (Poda, 1761)

Lesser Fiery Copper Lycaena thersamon (Esper, 1784)

Little Blue Cupido minimus (Fuessly, 1775)

Osirus Blue Cupido osiris (Meigen, 1829)

Iolas Blue Iolana iolas (Ochsenheimer, 1816)

Ripart's Anomalous Blue Polyommatus ripartii (Freyer, 1830)

Meleager's Blue Polyommatus daphnis (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)

Chapman's Blue Polyommatus thersites (Cantener, 1835)

Peacock Inachis io (Linnaeus, 1758)

Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae (Linnaeus, 1758)

Niobe Fritillary Argynnis niobe (Linnaeus, 1758)

Marbled White Melanargia galathea (Linnaeus, 1758)

Woodland Grayling Hipparchia fagi (Scopoli, 1763)

Tree Grayling Hipparchia statilinus (Hufnagel, 1766)

Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina (Linnaeus, 1758)

Dusky Meadow Brown Hyponephele lycaon (Rottemburg, 1775)

Oburther's Grizled Skipper Pyrgus armoricanus (Oberthür, 1910)

Olive Skipper Pyrgus serratulae (Rambur, 1839)

False Marbled Skipper Carcharodus stauderi Reverdin, 1913

Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola (Ochsenheimer, 1808)

Recommended European butterfly ID website

Another excellent site is Carlo Galliani's European butterfly gallery

Please send records of less common species to Lesvos Birding.

If you have any photos online for me to link to, please let me know.

Last updated 26 March 2011