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The Butterflies and Moths of Coustouges

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These web pages are dedicated to the extraordinary richness of butterfly species in the mountain village of Coustouges.

Coustouges (Costoja) is located in the French Pyrénées-Orientales, a few hundred meters from the Spanish border. The bridge and the main road to Spain however, were not completed until 1995. Until then in France, Coustouges was 'the end of the world'. Now, Costoja connects North and South Catalonia. The elderly speak Catalan. Also, several residents come originally from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom.

At an ideal altitude of 800 m, Coustouges is surrounded by forests of mainly downy oak (Quercus pubescens) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris). In the woods around the village you can still see the remains of dry-piled walls of the terraces of former agriculture and horticulture. This was mainly for personal use. People kept chickens, pigs and rabbits and grew fruit and vegetables, either in the small garden plots in the village, or in the larger plots around the village, where there is now forest, such as in Els Emprius.

There is some ecological awareness. No pesticides are used in the village. The public lighting went out from 11:00 PM to 5:00 AM. Later, the miserable step was taken of not turning off the lights until midnight and leaving them on during the summer months. This shows a complete misunderstanding of the life of moths, active mostly in summer and at the beginning of the evening.

The mountain village of Coustouges, seen from Spain.


These web pages contain all the butterflies that I have found and photographed within the municipality boundaries of Coustouges. It seems that the Two-tailed Pasha (Charaxes jasius) too was seen in Coustouges, but I have no photo evidence of this. The moth section is far from complete. Only the moths I saw during the day are shown here, supplemented with some single night shots.

Coustouges seen from the southeast, from the sandy road to Els Emprius.


Comments, corrections and additions are welcome. Please send correspondence by email to adriaan@adriaan.biz or by posting a message on the associated Facebook page.

Coustouges on an old postcard, seen from the West, with Spain in the background.
(reproduction shared under the CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license)