IberiaNature A guide to the natural history of Spain
By Nick Lloyd - Home - Contact

Land invertebrates in Spain

ant : hormiga formiga (Cat.); black ant : hormiga negra ; ant nest : hormiguero

In Spain there is supposed to be only one species of poisonous ant (Myrmica rubra laevinoides - hormiga roja chica), although its bite is not serious. Read about ants here on the forum.

Video here of anting (baño de hormigas) with great spotted and green woodpeckers. Birds such as woodpeckers and crows are particularly fond of this activity. They actively seek out ants which secrete liquids containing chemicals such as formic acid which acts as an insecticide, fungiide, or bactericie. Felix Rodriguez de la Fuente here speculates that they might even do it because they enjoy it.

External links:

ant lion : hormiga león See forum on ant lions in Spain

bedbug: chinche

bee : abeja;

beetle : escarabajo, escarabat (Cat) dung beetle : escarabajo pelotero, escarabat piloter (Cat); stag beetle: ciervo volante (Lit: flying deer), escanyapolls (Cat) The German car is also un escarabajo

A stag beetle fighting its way up Montseny, north of Barcelona.

black widow : viuda negra (Latrodectus tredecimguttatus


There are more than 1,700 species of spider in Spain but only three are in way harmful to us. By far, the most dangerous is the black widow (Latrodectus tredecimguttatus) which gives a medically-complex and painful bite though it is not fatal. They are commonest in Valencia and Andalucía, and they are a problem in the greenhouse estates of Almeria . The sting of the black widow, along with hysteria, was often responsible for the condition of tarantism, though at the time the much less-potent but more fearsome-looking true tarantula or wolf spider (Lycosa tarantula) was blamed. Wolf spiders are no relation to the much larger bird spiders of South America which have inherited the name, and their sting is weak. The hysteria began at some time during the Middle ages in Taranto in Southern Italy from where it spread out, reaching Spain in the 15th century. Victims were cured by making them dance to a frenzied music: the tarantela. As late 1875, the Spanish Royal Faculty of Medicine was recommending such antics. Other techniques for expelling the spider demon were less kind to the victim. In Corsica , the victim was placed in a sweltering oven, while on the Island of Hierro in the Canaries sufferers were treated with 'internal doses of human excrement'. Much more on things that can bite and sting you here:

External links

bug: chinche

butterfly : mariposa, papillona (Cat)

Mainland Spain and the Balearics are home to 227 species of butterflies (more than half the European total). Moths are less well studied but there are believed to be in excess of 4,000. See below here for a checklist of 219 butterflies found in Spain with their current status (kindly provided by Simon Coombes at the excellent Captain's European Butterfly Guide (Spain)

On the forum:

caterpillar : oruga; eruga (Cat)

As every Spanish child knows, don't even think about handling the hairy caterpillars of the pine processionary moth ( procesionarias in Spanish). If they are touched, their hairs release an extremely nasty allergic skin reaction. Children have been known to go temporarily blind from rubbing their eyes after picking them up. They live in easily identifiable silvery nests in pine trees throughout Mediterranean Spain and get their name from their habit of forming head-to-tail trails as they move across land. Also see Forum on pine processionary caterpillars

In depth look at the problem of the Pine processionary caterpillar (Thaumetopoea pityocampa). 30 min 45 sec by forestman Click on play.

More Spain nature videos

centipede : ciempiés, centpeus (Cat); megarian banded centipede ( Scolopendra cingulata ) : escolopendra

Black and yellow, grows up to 9cm long and will give you a very nasty sting.

cicada: chicharra, cigarra

cobweb : tela de araña, teranyina (Cat)

cochid bug : cochinilla

cockroach : cucaracha. The English word is Spanish in origin. cricket: grillo

damselfly : caballito del diablo, espiadimonis (Cat) There are 76 species (27 damselflies; 49 dragonflies; 34 genera) of Odonata recorded in mainland Spain. See List of dragonflies & damselflies in Spain (iberianwildlife)

dragonfly : libélula, libèl·lula (Cat)

drone (insect) : zángano

dung beetle : escarabajo pelotero, escarabat piloter (Cat)

earthworm : lombriz, cuc de terra (Cat)

earwig : tijereta; cortapichas (col.), papaorelles (Cat)

flea : pulga, puça (Cat)

fly : mosca;

fruit fly : mosca de la fruta;

horse fly : tábano, tàvec (Cat)

glow-worm : luciérnaga, cuca de llum (Cat(

grasshopper : saltamontes

honeybee : abeja melera

hornet : avispón, vespa xana (Cat)

horse fly : tábano, tàvec (Cat)

house fly : mosca doméstica

ladybird : mariquita, marieta (Cat)

locust (land); lobster (sea) : langosta, llangosta (Cat) See Locusts in Spain

louse : piojo, poll (Cat)

meadow spittlebug: espumadora (Philaenus spumarius)

millipede : milpiés

mosquito: mosquito. Mosquitoes are locally a problem, though they are no longer malarial . See article on Malaria in Spain here.

tiger mosquito: mosquito tigre. The first colony of tiger mosquitoes ( Aedes Albopictus - mosquito tigre ) has finally been detected in Spain, in Sant Cugat de Valles near Barcelona. Mosquito experts have been expecting the insect to reach here for some time. It has been spreading across Europe and reached Italy and France in 1990 . See Tiger mosquitoes and the history of yellow fever and dengue in Spain

moth : polilla ;mariposa nocturna, arna (Cat)

praying mantis: mantis religiosa, pregadéu (Cat) Common in Mediterrenean Spain

scorpion: escorpión; Mediterranean scorpion ( Buthus occitanus ) : escorpión amarillo (or alacrán ) escorpí (Cat

) from here www.aragoneria.com/ (link corrected)

The commonest scorpion in Spain is the Mediterranean scorpion (Buthus occitanus, escorpión amarillo or just alacrán) and though its North African cousin is more dangerous, it will still give you an extremely nasty sting. You might want to think about wearing boots and thick socks if you plan to hike in dry rocky areas (most of wild Spain) as they are by no means rare. The female will make a meal out of the male if food is short on the ground. The European black scorpion is also present in Spain, preferring more northerly and wetter areas. It's sting is short-lived. Scorpions have a bent for resting in your shoes, so be careful.

silkworm : gusano de seda

silverfish : lapisma

slug : babosa; llimac (Cat) lumiaco (Cant); limaco (Arag.)

snail : caracol, caragol (Cat)

spider : araña, aranya (Cat);

wolf spider: araña lobo;

black widow : viuda negra (Latrodectus tredecimguttatus) There are more than 1,700 species of spider in Spain but only three are in way harmful to us. By far, the most dangerous is the black widow ( Latrodectus tredecimguttatus ) See above Old world tarantulas (wolf spiders) are found in arid zones such as Los Monegros in Aragon. Their bite can be painful but not dangerous. Finally, the Mediterranean recluse spider ( Loxosceles rufescens ), though less toxic than its African recluse cousins, can give a painful nip.

Oldest spider web in the world found in Teruel

The oldest-known spider web with prey still entrapped has been found preserved in a chunk of amber in Spain. From: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/5108666.stm ( 22 June 2006)

The mesh of silk strands - snaring the remains of a fly, beetle, mite and wasp - dates back 110 million years to the time of the dinosaurs. The fossil web appears to have been designed along the same lines as the round nets woven by modern spiders. The find, described in Science, sheds light on the early evolution of spiders and the insects they fed on.

The web consists of some 26 silk strands preserved in a thin layer of amber together with an arachnid's prey. Although it is not intact, enough of the web structure has survived to convince its discovers - from the University of Barcelona, Spain, and the American Museum of Natural History, New York, US - that it was probably a classical wheel-shaped, or orb, web. It is possibly the oldest spider web on record; an earlier single strand of spider silk preserved in Lebanese amber has been discovered although it is unclear if this was part of a true web.

"The advanced structure of this fossilised web (from Spain), along with the type of prey that the web caught, indicates that spiders have been fishing insects from the air for a very long time," said Dr David Grimaldi of the American Museum of Natural History.

"Spiders today have a huge impact as predators on insect populations, along with birds and bats."

Flying insects The find from the San Just site in Spain dates back to the Early Cretaceous, a time when Earth was home to the pterosaurs, the largest animals to fly, and many dinosaurs. Winged insects were starting to appear and spread rapidly across the globe. They were probably preyed on by primitive spiders, just as modern spiders that spin orb nets do today.

The 110-million-year-old spider web snared three of the four orders of flying insect, suggesting that the evolution of spiders and flying insects is inextricably linked.

"Biodiversity of spiders increases over geological time at a very similar rate to that of insects, which basically suggests that as insects are evolving, the spiders are evolving too," said fossil spider expert Dr David Penney of Manchester University, UK, who published details of a similar find last week.

Single origin A second paper published in the current edition of Science also sheds light on the early evolution of spiders. Some have suggested that the orb web is an example of covergent evolution - when something evolves independently at different times in history, in this case twice. But the new genetic study suggests all orb-web spinners share some key silk-making proteins, indicating a single evolutionary origin. Coupled with fossil evidence, this suggests that the great ancestors of modern spiders were weaving webs as long ago as 136 million years ago.

stag beetle: ciervo volante (Lit: flying deer)

stick insect: insecto palosting : agujón

tick: garrapata, paparra (Cat)

wasp : avispa; vespa (Cat) potter wasp : avispa alfarera; digger wasp; avispa excavdora; paper wasp: avispa papelera: (Polistes gallicus); sand digger wasp: avispa zapadora (Ammophila sabulosa) spider wasp: avispa arañera; wasp's nest : avispero

water boatman: zapatero

weevil : gorgojo

worm : gusano, cuc (Cat);

silkworm: gusano de la seda

Checklist of 219 butterflies of the 227 species found in Spain with their current status (kindly provided by Simon Coombes at the excellent Captain's European Butterfly Guide (Spain)

      Erynnis tages  Common
      Carcharodus alceae  Common
      Carcharodus lavatherae  Unsure
      Carcharodus floccifera  Unsure
      Carcharodus baeticus  Common
      Spialia sertorius  Common
      Muschampia proto  Common
      Pyrgus carthami  Common
      Pyrgus sidae  Rare
      Pyrgus andromedae  Unsure
      Pyrgus cacaliae  Rare
      Pyrgus malvae  Common
      Pyrgus serratulae  Common
      Pyrgus onopordi  Unsure
      Pyrgus cirsii  Common
      Pyrgus cinarae  Rare
      Pyrgus armoricanus  Unsure
      Pyrgus alveus  Unsure
      Pyrgus bellieri  Unsure
      Heteropterus morpheus  Widespread
      Carterocephalus palaemon  Rare
      Thymelicus lineola  Common
      Thymelicus sylvestris  Common
      Thymelicus acteon  Common
      Hesperia comma  Common
      Ochlodes venata  Common
      Gegenes pumilio  Rare
      Gegenes nostrodamus  Widespread
      Borbo borbonica  Rare
      Zerynthia rumina  Common
      Parnassius mnemosyne  Rare
      Parnassius apollo  Common
      Iphiclides podalirius  Common
      Papilio machaon  Common

      Leptidea sinapis complex  Common
      Anthocharis cardamines  Common
      Anthocharis euphenoides  Common
      Zegris eupheme  Common
      Euchloe belemia  Common
      Euchloe crameri  Common
      Euchloe tagis  Common
      Euchloe charlonia  Rare
      Aporia crataegi  Common
      Pieris brassicae  Common
      Pieris mannii  Local
      Pieris rapae  Common
      Pieris ergane  Rare
      Pieris napi  Common
      Pontia callidice  Rare
      Pontia daplidice complex  Unsure
      Colotis evagore  Rare
      Colias phicomone  Widespread
      Colias croceus*  Widespread
      Colias alfacariensis  Common
      Gonepteryx rhamni  Common
      Gonepteryx cleopatra  Common
      Hamearis lucina  Common
      Lycaena phlaeas  Common
      Lycaena helle  Rare
      Lycaena virgaureae  Common
      Lycaena tityrus  Common
      Lycaena alciphron  Common
      Lycaena hippothoe  Widespread
      Thecla betulae  Widespread
      Neozephyrus quercus  Common
      Laeosopis roboris  Common
      Tomares ballus  Common
      Callophrys rubi  Common
      Callophrys avis  Local
      Satyrium w-album  Widespread
      Satyrium pruni  Rare
      Satyrium spini  Common
      Satyrium ilicis  Common
      Satyrium esculi  Common
      Satyrium acaciae  Common
      Lampides boeticus  Common
      Cacyreus marshalli  Common
      Leptotes pirithous  Common
      Tarucus theophrastus  Rare
      Zizeeria knysna  Widespread
      Cupido minimus  Common
      Cupido osiris  Common
      Cupido lorquinii  Local
      Cupido argiades  Widespread
      Cupido alcetas  Local
      Celastrina argiolus  Common
      Pseudophilotes baton  Common
      Pseudophilotes abencerragus  Local
      Scolitantides orion  Widespread
      Glaucopsyche alexis  Common
      Glaucopsyche melanops  Common
      Iolana iolas  Local
      Maculinea arion  Widespread
      Maculinea nausithous  Rare
      Maculinea alcon  Local
      Maculinea rebeli  Local
      Plebeius hesperica  Local
      Plebeius argus  Common
      Plebeius idas  Common
      Plebeius pyrenaica  Rare
      Plebeius glandon  Local
      Aricia eumedon  Local
      Aricia cramera  Common
      Aricia agestis  Common
      Aricia morronensis  Local
      Aricia nicias  Rare
      Polyommatus semiargus  Common
      Polyommatus escheri  Common
      Polyommatus dorylas  Common
      Polyommatus golgus  Rare
      Polyommatus nivescens  Widespread
      Polyommatus amandus  Widespread
      Polyommatus thersites  Common
      Polyommatus icarus  Common
      Polyommatus eros  Local
      Polyommatus daphnis  Widespread
      Polyommatus bellargus  Common
      Polyommatus coridon  Widespread
      Polyommatus caelestissima  Widespread
      Polyommatus hispana  Unsure
      Polyommatus albicans  Common
      Polyommatus fabressei  Local
      Polyommatus ripartii  Widespread
      Polyommatus dolus  Widespread
      Polyommatus fulgens  Rare
      Polyommatus damon  Common
      Libythea celtis  Widespread
      Argynnis paphia  Common
      Argynnis pandora  Common
      Argynnis aglaja  Common
      Argynnis adippe  Common
      Argynnis niobe  Common
      Issoria lathonia  Common
      Brenthis ino  Common
      Brenthis daphne  Common
      Brenthis hecate  Common
      Boloria eunomia  Rare
      Boloria euphrosyne  Common
      Boloria selene  Common
      Boloria dia  Common
      Boloria pales  Widespread
      Boloria napaea  Rare
      Vanessa atalanta*  Widespread
      Vanessa cardui*  Widespread
      Inachis io  Common
      Aglais urticae  Common
      Polygonia c-album  Common
      Araschnia levana  Local
      Nymphalis antiopa  Common
      Nymphalis polychloros  Common
      Euphydryas desfontainii  Common
      Euphydryas aurinia  Common
      Melitaea cinxia  Common
      Melitaea phoebe  Common
      Melitaea aetherie  Rare
      Melitaea trivia  Common
      Melitaea didyma  Common
      Melitaea diamina  Widespread
      Melitaea deione  Common
      Melitaea parthenoides  Common
      Melitaea athalia  Common
      Limenitis camilla  Common
      Limenitis reducta  Common
      Charaxes jasius  Widespread
      Apatura ilia  Local
      Apatura iris  Widespread
      Pararge aegeria  Common
      Lasiommata megera  Common
      Lasiommata petropolitana  Rare
      Lasiommata maera  Common
      Lopinga achine  Rare
      Coenonympha arcania  Common
      Coenonympha glycerion  Common
      Coenonympha dorus  Common
      Coenonympha pamphilus  Common
      Pyronia tithonus  Common
      Pyronia cecilia  Common
      Pyronia bathseba  Common
      Aphantopus hyperantus  Common
      Maniola jurtina  Common
      Hyponephele lycaon  Common
      Hyponephele lupinus  Common
      Erebia euryale  Widespread
      Erebia manto  Local
      Erebia epiphron  Widespread
      Erebia triaria  Common
      Erebia gorge  Local
      Erebia gorgone  Local
      Erebia epistygne  Widespread
      Erebia cassioides  Widespread
      Erebia hispania  Widespread
      Erebia pronoe  Local
      Erebia lefebvrei  Local
      Erebia zapateri  Local
      Erebia neoridas  Widespread
      Erebia oeme  Rare
      Erebia meolans  Common
      Erebia palarica  Local
      Erebia pandrose  Local
      Erebia sthennyo  Local
      Melanargia russiae  Common
      Melanargia galathea  Common
      Melanargia lachesis  Common
      Melanargia occitanica  Common
      Melanargia ines  Common
      Satyrus ferula  Local
      Satyrus actaea  Common
      Minois dryas  Local
      Hipparchia fagi  Common
      Hipparchia alcyone  Common
      Hipparchia semele  Common
      Hipparchia statilinus  Common
      Hipparchia fidia  Common
      Arethusana arethusa  Common
      Brintesia circe  Common
      Chazara briseis  Common
      Chazara prieuri  Local
      Pseudochazara hippolyte  Local
      Danaus plexippus  Rare

Ant in Spanish

Ants in Iberia

Iberian ants

How do you say ant in Spanish?

hormiga traducción en inglés

bedbug translation Spanish

chinche in English

how do you say bee in Spanish?;

Spanish translation of bee

hpw do you say beetle in Spanish?;

escarabajo en English

Are there poisonous spiders in Spain ?

Spanish beetles

dung beetle in Spanish

escarabajo pelotero en inglés

Spanish translation stag beetle

black widow bites in Spain

black widow Spain

black widow translation Spanish

Latrodectus tredecimguttatus in Spain

wolf spider in Spain

Lycosa tarantula in Spain

Are there tarantulas in Spain ?

Translation Wolf spiders

Wolf spider bites

Bug in Spanish

papillona en angles

how do you say moth in Spanish?

Translation Spanish caterpillar

Caterpillars in Spain

Pine processionary caterpillar in Spain

Spain Thaumetopoea pityocampa

Pine processionary caterpillar translation

Centipedes in Spain

Centipede stings Spain

Spanish translation Centipedes

Scolopendra cingulata Spain

How do you say cicada in Spanish?

How do you say cobweb in Spanish?

Spanish cobwebs

tela de araña en ingles?

cochid bug in Spain

Spanish cockroach

Translation cucaracha

Spanish cricket

Crickets in Spain

damselfly in Spain

Spain damselflies in Spain

How do you say damselfly in Spanish?

How do you say dragonfly in Spanish?

Iberian dragonflies

Drone Spanish

Spanish dung beetle

Spain earthworm

Earthworms Spain

Iberian earthworms

How do you say earthworm in Spanish?

Spanish libélula

Earwigs in Spain

Iberian earwigs

Spanish earwigs

Spanish Translation of Earwig

What is a cortapichas?

What is a tijereta?

How do you say fly in Spanish?

Spanish translation of fly

Flies in Spain

Iberian flies

fruit fly Spanish translation

horse fly Spanish translation

horse flies in Spain

Spain horse flies stings

English tábano

How do you say glow-worm in Spanish?

Spanish translation glow-worm

Glow-worms Spain

Grasshoppers in Spain

Spanish grasshoppers

Honeybees in Spain

Hornets in Spain

Iberian hornets

Hornet stings in Spain

Spanish hornets: avispón, vespa xana (Cat)

How do you say house fly in Spanish?

How do you say ladybird in Spanish?

Spanish ladybird translation

Spanish locusts

What is locust in Spanish?

Spanish louse

Louse in Spain

meadow spittlebug Spanish translation

Philaenus spumarius Spain

Spanish translation millipede

Mosquitoes Spain

Spanish Mosquitoes

malarial Mosquitoes Spain

Are there Mosquitoes in Spain ?

Spanish moths

Translation moth in Spanish

polilla in English

praying mantis Spanish translation

scorpion Spanish translation

Buthus occitanus Spain

European black scorpion in Spain

Common scorpions in Spain

Are there scorpions in Spain ?

silkworm in Spain

Spanish silkworm

Spain silkworm translation

Silkworms in Spain

silverfish Spanish translation

how do you say slug in Spanish?

Slugs in Spain

Common Spanish slugs

Spanish snails

Common Spanish spiders

Spider bites Spain

Mediterranean recluse spider Spain

Loxosceles rufescens Spain

How do say web in Spanish

Spanish spider webs

Spain stag beetle

stag beetle Spanish translation

ciervo volante English

Spanish translation stick insect:

Ticks in Spain :

Tick in Spanish

Wasps in Spain

Spain potter wasp

digger wasp in Spain Polistes gallicus Spain

Spain Ammophila sabulosa

Spanish translation of wasp's nest

water boatman in Spanish

What does zapatero mean?

Translation of zapatero

Weevils in Spain

Spanish weevil

Spanish worm

Worms in Spain