Borbo borbonica – Zeller’s Skipper – Borbo

Borbo borbonica – Zeller’s Skipper – Borbo

Borbo borbonica – Zeller’s Skipper – Borbo is a butterfly belonging to the Hesperiidae family. Males and females present little sexual dimorphism, with females being larger and their hyaline windows slightly larger. The length of the forewings is 14-15 mm.

Borbo borbonica – Zeller’s Skipper – Borbo
Distribution of Borbo borbonica – Zeller’s Skipper – Borbo

It is an eminently tropical species or found in very warm, humid, or swampy areas where its food or nectar plants abound, such as Lythrum salicaria. It can be found along the southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, mainly in Syria, as far as Saudi Arabia, and in Africa, Mauritius, and the island of Réunion.

The northernmost populations are in Europe (in Spain.) Previously, three populations were known: one in the Ebro Delta (Tarragona), another in Vall de LLorá (Gerona), and the third in the Bay of Algeciras. (The Catalan populations seem to have disappeared, so the Campo de Gibraltar population would be the only one currently surviving in Europe.)

Borbo borbonica – Zeller’s Skipper – Borbo

The best-known population, easy to observe and possibly one of the few where its reproduction has been confirmed, is that of the Amphibian Pond of Ornipark, in the Huerta Grande Visitors Center (Population discovered by the biologist and ornithologist David Barros Cardona) and studied by different specialists, where complete generations have been observed developing from May-June to September-October. See information about Huerta Grande here:

The latest data also confirms its presence in La Janda, Puerto Real, and gardens of the University of Malaga, and it would not be strange if this species expands to more locations if habitat quality is sustained.

Food plants
  • In Spain: Polypogon viridis and Sorghum halepense
  • In North Africa: Leersia oryzoides and Sorghum halepense.
  • In Mauritius, they feed on Panicum.
  • In South Africa, they have been detected in Ehrharta erecta, Oryza, Pennisetum, and Zea mays.

They have been seen feeding on Lantana camara but little is known about the food plants of adults

Further reading
The Caminito del Rey

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Wildside Holidays – Spain

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Iberia Nature Forum

Struggling with identifying those bugs and beasties? Why not check out the Iberia nature Forum!

Discover the Iberia Nature Forum – Environment, geography, nature, landscape, climate, culture, history, rural tourism and travel.

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