Libythea celtis, Crete - photo © Fotis Samaritakis

Libythea celtis, Crete - photo © Fotis Samaritakis

Libythea celtis


Libythea celtis is a butterfly of the family Nymphalidae on the island of Crete, Greece.

Scientific name

Libythea celtis (Laicharting, 1782)

Common name

European Beak, Nettle Tree Butterfly


Family: Nymphalidae > Subfamily: Libytheinae > Genus: Libythea


Male to female: 35-40 mm


Both sexes have a similar appearance, but the distinctive characteristic between males and females are the legs; females have all legs fully developed but males have reduced forelegs useless for walking.

The butterfly has a highly dentate external margin of the wings. The upper side of the wings is dark brown colored with orange marks in the marginal and postdiscal area, two small white marks, and orange in the cell.

The underside of the wings is light brown colored. The hindwing is light brown with a small thin white line.


It has a very strong flight and usually stays on the ground. In warm hazy weather conditions, the butterfly often basks on foliage several meters above ground level, but never opens its wings when on the ground.


Libythea celtis in Crete live in dry sunny slopes, scrub, fields with light scrubland around the food plants.

Food plant

The larvae feed on Celtis australis.

Flight Period

The butterfly flies in one generation per year.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

The Nettle Tree Butterfly has very limited distribution in Crete. It has a unique appearance in Crete and can’t be confused with any other butterflies of the island.


Least Concern (LC)

(*European Red List of Butterflies, 2010)

Libythea Celtis Distribution Map

*based on

Libythea celtis location map based on greek butterflies distributions map by L.N. Pamperis (revised 2022)