Mt. Mainalo reminiscences

Butterflies of Mt. Mainalo

This morning I was browsing my catalogue of raw files reminiscing about my butterflies trip to Greece last summer.  I decided to re-edit the shot below, having upgraded to Photoshop CS6 last autumn.  Previously I’d been using CS3, so had to rely on Adobe .dng files for Raw conversion with my D3S – still fine, but CS6 adds lots of useful features including lens and camera calibrations, further fine-tuning the raw output.


Balkan Marbled White

Melanargia larissa

Mt. Mainalo, Central Peloponnese, Greece


Altitude: 1176m

Nikon D3S/200f4micro/cpl/SB600+softbox

ISO 250 1/250 f/18 handheld

Below are some excerpts from the trip report I posted on the ukbutterflies forum last year, on the subject of Mt. Mainalo and its butterflies.

I visited the Northern and Central Peloponnese in Greece from 28th June to 8th July 2012, staying in the Mt. Chelmos region in Kalavryta.  I visited Mt. Mainalo twice, having hired a Daihatsu Terios 4×4 from Athens, and using the combination of the excellent Anavasi maps and a Garmin GPS for navigation.

Mainalo is a mountainous area to the south in central Arcadia in the heart of the Peloponnese. Access to the turn-off for the Ski Centre from the western side is from the outskirts of the town of Vytina 1hr 15mins drive south from Kalavryta.  Though the summit is at 1981m above the tree-line, the majority of the mountain is clad in fir forest, with the occasional open meadow area – and as such had more of a northern European, even Scandinavian, feel to it than the other mountains I visited. This region had suffered devastating forest fires in recent years, but thankfully I saw no signs of this on my access to the Western side of the mountain.

It has a small ski-centre at the summit area, but it seems more sensitively implemented than the scars on Mt. Chelmos reveal. A bonus is that the road all the way to the top is smooth tarmac (better in fact than the road up Chelmos, though the latter is probably more heavily damaged every winter by the effects of snow and ice).

This was a truly magical place which I wish I’d had time to explore even more extensively than my two day-trips allowed. Bee-keeping was very much in evidence, but less extensively so than on Chelmos. The road through the trees opened up meadows full of flowering herbs and bushes full of Lycaenid and Nymphalid butterflies: butterfly numbers here seemed generally rather higher than on Chelmos, though the vegetation in some of the open meadows seemed maybe a little more lush.

During my two visits to this lovely area, I saw a total of 50 species, arranged below as presented in Tolman & Lewington (standard fieldguide for European butterflies):


Swallowtail — Papilio machaon

Scarce Swallowtail — Iphiclides podalirius


Large White — Pieris brassicae

Small White — Pieris rapae

Mountain Small White — Pieris ergane

Green-veined White — Pieris napi

Eastern Bath White — Pontia edusa

Clouded Yellow — Colias crocea

Brimstone — Gonepteryx rhamni

Cleopatra — Gonepteryx cleopatra



Ilex Hairstreak — Satyrium ilicis

Small Copper — Lycaena phlaeas

Grecian Copper — Lycaena ottomana

Sooty Copper — Lycaena tityrus

Lesser Fiery Copper — Lycaena thersamon

Long-tailed Blue — Lampides boeticus

Lang’s Short-tailed Blue — Leptotes pirithous

Zephyr Blue — Plebejus pylaon sephirus

Silver-studded Blue — Plebejus argus

Brown Argus — Aricia agestis

Escher’s Blue — Agrodiaetus escheri

Chapman’s Blue — Agrodiaetus thersites

Grecian Anomalous Blue — Agrodiaetus aroaniensis

Turquoise Blue — Plebicula dorylas

Meleager’s Blue — Meleageria daphnis

Common Blue — Polyommatus icarus



Southern White Admiral — Limenitis reducta

Camberwell Beauty — Nymphalis antiopa

Painted Lady — Vanessa cardui

Queen of Spain Fritillary — Issoria lathonia

Comma — Polygonia c-album

Cardinal — Argynnis pandora

Silver-washed Fritillary — Argynnis paphia

Dark Green Fritillary — Argynnis aglaja

High Brown Fritillary — Argynnis adippe

Niobe Fritillary — Argynnis niobe


Balkan Marbled White — Melanargia larissa

Great Sooty Satyr — Satyrus ferula

Meadow Brown — Maniola jurtina

Dusky Meadow Brown — Hyponephele lycaon

Small Heath — Coenonympha pamphilus

Large Wall Brown — Lasiommata maera


Oberthür’s Grizzled Skipper — Pyrgus armoricanus

Olive Skipper — Pyrgus serratulae

Orbed Red Underwing Skipper — Spialia orbifer

Oriental Marbled Skipper — Carcharodus orientalis

Essex Skipper — Thymelicus lineola

Small Skipper — Thymelicus sylvestris

Large Skipper — Ochlodus venatus

Mediterranean Skipper — Gegenes nostrodamus


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