The Garden Inspector or the Garden Commodore is from the genus Precis. This genus consists of robust, medium-sized and brightly coloured nymphalines. These are similar to Junonia (the Pansies), but they don’t have eye spots and great difference in colour and markings of the wet season form and dry season form. Their flight is fast and agile; often found sitting on the ground opening and closing their wings. They are fond of flowers.
Eggs are laid on Lamiaceae ( The mints, taxonomically known as Lamiaceae or Labiatae, are a family of flowering plants ), are bulb shaped, green to yellow, with 10-16 prominent glassy longitudinal ribs and sometimes 25-40 cross ridges.
The wingspan of the male ranges from 45-50mm and the females range is from 50-60mm. They look pretty similar, but the female’s wings are rounder. The dry season form colours of Precis archesia archesia are brown , maroon and blue and the wet season form colours are brown with cream to buff postdiscal bands.
The distribution: Savanna, grassland and forests from Western Cape (knysna area) to the Eastern Cape and up to Kwazulu-Natal, Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and NW Provinces.
Habitat: Forest Edges, parks and gardens, hill tops, hillsides, rocky slopes and gullies.
Flight period: All year round
Food Plant: Plectranthus spp. ( a genus of warm-climate plants occurring largely in the southern hemisphere, in sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, India and the Indonesian archipelago down to Australia and some Pacific Islands )
These photos were taken at the van Stadens Flower Reserve outside Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
Most of this information was supplied from Steve Woodhalls book “Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa”