Attractions

Butterfly Valley

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Butterfly Valley or Petaloudes

Rhodes is recognized for its rich vegetation and natural beauty, which is very rare on a Greek island! The canyon of Pelekanos River hosts a unique valley that is named after the Panaxia Quatripunctaria Butterfly. The 1 km route is beautifully organized with wooden bridges over pools and falls of water, paved footpaths, and little benches to enjoy the scenery.

This wooded valley with a rare ecosystem is dense with Liquidambar Styrax trees, the resin from which is used in the production of incense.

The Valley is situated close to the village Theologos, some 23 km southeast from Rhodes town, and 10 km from the Airport. There are three entrances with parking areas.

 

 

The bottom entrance is next to the Museum of Natural History, the middle entrance is considered to be the main entrance with a snack bar and a souvenir shop, the upper entrance is next to the Monastery of Panaghia Kalopetra.

Kalimorphos Panaxia Quatripunktaria

The Valley was found in the 1930s by Italians who developed a beautiful 1 km path that goes through the canyon along with the areas where the butterflies are most densely populated. First studies were conducted by a German entomologist Reinhard Eiger.

Kalimorphos Panaxia Quatripunctaria is a colored species of moth, that looks very much like a butterfly. It is 18 to 23 millimeters long, and the span of its wings reached 55 to 60 mm. When resting, the moth lows the head and has the shape of an equilateral triangle. Only when it opens its wings, one can see the bright orange color with dark spots. They gather in the valley in great numbers during the hot summer months (June to September).

From January to February the butterflies are in the form of little eggs that are spread throughout the island. In April these eggs produce the small larva which is transformed into a chrysalis caterpillar, and in May they achieve their final shape of a butterfly. When it turns hot, usually at the beginning of June, they leave their locale and migrate during the night until they reach the valley where they stay until the end of September. Butterflies are attracted by the smell of the resin of Styrax trees as well as the coolness and humidity of the surroundings. By the end of summer, the insects mate and only female fly away (can reach up to 25 km) to leave some 150 eggs in safe and dark places between bushes and plants.

The butterflies live entirely from body fat during the summer. They sleep during the day and lose vast amounts of energy when alarmed and forced to flee from danger. It is therefore crucial for the survival of the species that visitors don’t disturb the butterflies if they are to make it through to autumn and lay their eggs once again starting off the cycle.

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