Characteristics of Western Mediterranean michahellis
Range: Mediterranean Spain, France, Corsica, Sardinia, Morocco and Tunisia. Eastwards boundary not clear. Also found on the Atlantic in south west Spain and south west France in suitable habitat (salines, marshes, ponds).
Appearance: heavier and larger than all forms of atlantis with larger, boxier heads, longer wingspan and legs and more attenuated at rear.
Differences for adults from southern atlantis are:
Mantles: distinctly paler than southern atlantis and slightly paler than Iberian atlantis and with a duller ash-grey tinge, lacking any blue or purple sheen.
Underwing: the trailing edge is less dusky.
Size: distinctly larger than southern atlantis.
Structure: the legs are distinctly longer than in southern atlantis being about equal to the height of the body above rather than about 70% of the height of the body above. The heads are larger and boxier. The rear-end looks more like graellsii (very attenuated) while atlantis rear ends are more like argenteus.
Primaries: P9 carries a mirror in 42% of michahellis (22% southern atlantis), the black triangle is solid across P6-P8 in 73% of michahellis (87% southern atlantis), P5 carries a broad band in 79% of michahellis (44% of southern atlantis) and P4 carries a spot in 32% of michahellis (13% of southern atlantis).
Calls: the calls are deeper and more guttural than those of southern atlantis with more harmonics at a lower frequency overall. The mews are deeper than in southern atlantis.
© Nick Rossiter 2005
email: nick.rossiter1 at btinternet.com