Hummingbird hawk-moth - Macroglossum stellatarum - Esfinge colibrí

Bugs and beasties In Spain

Insects that you might see whilst on a walking or wildlife holiday in Spain

There exists a fascinating array of thousands of species of Bugs and beasties In Spain, with no-doubt some yet to be catalogued.

Of the more obvious and aesthetically pleasing, there is an impressive list of butterflies including the Apollo (Parnassius apollo) which is restricted to high mountains and the fabulous Spanish Moon Moth (Graellsia isabellae) on the endangered list due to greedy collectors. There are around 226 butterflies in Iberia and over 4000 species of moth.

Want to go beastie and bug spotting in Andalucia?

Sue Eatock from Nature Plus – Grazalema can show you the iconic species of spiders, butterflies, mantis and dragonflies. Get in touch with her here:

Insects are often overlooked but we do rely heavily on bees which are an intrinsic part of our existence with their ability to pollinate crops. Cicadas whining in the trees during the heat of summer and crickets churring in the grasses at night are common insect sounds but have you ever searched the branches of a tree or bush for one?

A few essential books to help you learn about insects in Spain (and Europe)

Many insects are beneficial to us and yet are sadly targeted because of the “all insects are pests to be eliminated” attitude.

Moths which can be a nuisance fluttering around a lamp at night are important pollinators of white flowering plants. Lacewings which may become trapped in the house are needed outdoors as they are voracious eaters of the aphids that may reduce our crop yield.

While the use of chemicals such as pesticides can pollute our environment, nature usually has a better more balanced answer.

Among the many species of spider, southern Spain holds one protected by Europe, the Andalusian funnel web (Macrothele calpeiana) easily recognised by its all black colouring and long spinnerets. Iberia is also home to Tarantulas, though none resemble the huge tropical varieties.

Start searching for the identity of that bug here!

The below links will take you to the dedicated information pages for the different types of bugs and beasties in Spain. (This is a work in progress, please feel free to help out by sending us your images of bugs and beasties in Spain!)

  • Beetles and Bugs Beetles and bugs are classified Coleoptera (beetles) and Hemiptera (bugs). There are literally thousands upon thousands of species of these fascinating little creatures that have an important role in the bio diveristy of the natural world.
  • Butterflies A list of butterflies found in Spain with scientific, common English and common Spanish names. Links to images and further information for each species.
  • Bees and wasps Some of the most common bees and wasps in Spain.
  • Crickets, Grasshoppers and bush Crickets
  • Dragonflies and damselflies in Spain are extremely beautiful insects which capture the very essence of summer as they perform their intricate aerobatics around the gleaming backdrop of rivers and pools on hot and sunny days.
  • Mantis in Iberia are carnivorous insects that rest on plants while they await their prey. The size, colour and shape can vary greatly between species through their virtually world wide distribution, which consists of more than 1800 species. Within Iberia there are 15 species on the mainland with another on the Canary Islands.
  • Spiders, scorpions and centipedes There are more than 1,700 species of spider in Spain but only three are in way harmful to us.
  • Moths
A few more essential books

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