Patronat de Turisme de la Diputació de TarragonaDiputació de Tarragona
Terres de l'Ebre 
© Pere Luque
© MTTE
© Pere Luque

MuseumTerres de l’Ebre

Biodiversity in Terres de l’Ebre: going beyond birds to butterflies and dragonflies

Over recent years, nature tourism, and more specifically, ornithological tourism has seen a huge increase: what was once of very little significance in the context of national tourism has now become a growing sector which attracts more and more specialized tourism year after year.

Birdwatchers or fans of nature, take advantage of their free time to go on trips looking for species which are not present in their country of origin, searching for rare birds to add to their catalogue of bird observations. More recently, this profile has been completed with other fans of nature who are not only looking for birds but are also interested in other groups of animals, such as mammals or insects (especially butterflies and dragonflies), plants like orchids and even geological landmarks in the landscape.

Important biodiversity is to be found in the different natural places in Terres de l’Ebre, with the Parque Natural del Delta del Ebro (Ebro Delta Natural Park) and the Parque Natural de Els Ports (Els Ports Natural Park) at the forefront, together these make up an area which has been declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, which is an asset of the highest rank in tourism terms, and a great attraction for nature lovers. To the contrasting and already well-known ornithological value of this area, we must add other values of equal yet unknown importance, and which complement the nature tourism offer of quality which is available in Terres de l’Ebre.

A good example of these little known assets are butterflies and dragonflies. Butterflies are one of the most attractive and popular of insects. Catalonia is a privileged region as there are already 200 species of daytime butterflies, of which 120 are present in Terres de l’Ebre. Here, species like the plain tiger butterfly (Danaus chrysippus), Spanish moon moth (Graellsia isabelae) and the great peacock moth (Saturnia pyri), are emblematic, and rare on the rest of the continent. The same happens with dragonflies. In Terres de l’Ebre a total of 48 species have been sighted, out of a total of 70 which can be found in this country. Of these, a good number can be considered native to the south of Europe, and some them are rare, both on a European and even a worldwide level. In fact, there are four species present which are the most in danger and the most protected by the European Community.

For years now the Terres de l’Ebre Museum has carried out work in collaboration with different associations and organizations throughout the country to disseminate these groups of animals, by promoting them and carrying out research, conferences and workshops, especially on butterflies and dragonflies. One of the aims of the institution is to promote and give value to these insects both locally and to those visiting or touring round the Terres de l’Ebre. One example of an activity to do just this, has been the first guided tour to find out about the butterflies in the Montsià mountain range Espacio de Interés Natural (Area of Natural Interest), which took part in Freginals in June. During the guided tour, which was given by specialists, the participants saw different species of daytime butterflies present in the area, and were shown the different instruments used for studying this group of insects in this country. This tour formed part of the 1st day of the butterfly programme which combined 30 activities taking part all over the region of Catalonia; a workshop whose main aim was to inform the general public and give them the chance to see these beautiful insects at first hand.

The Educational and Tourist Services at the Museum itself has created a specific tourist product for nature tourism, showing the biodiversity in Terres de l’Ebre, and giving special interest to butterflies and dragonflies. The activity is a personalised package lasting from one to several days, where the most important natural areas in the region are visited in order to research the most interesting, unique butterflies and dragonflies which each group of clients have previously asked to see. Guided tours by specialised staff who not only explain, but also show nature tourists the extraordinary biodiversity in the Terres de l’Ebre Biosphere Reserve.

If you would like to take part in one of these enjoyable visits do not hesitate to contact us on info@museuterresebre.cat or telephone 0034 977 702 954