Tag Archive: butterflies and moths

Burnished Opals – Chrysoritis chrysaor

Here is a small collection of some Burnished Opals taken in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. They were a taken with a Canon 7D camera with a Tamron 90mm VC lens. These are some of the most stunning butterflies in my humble opinion and believe me, they are not easy to shoot with a camera!

Burnished Opal - Chrysoritis chrysaor

The males of this species grow to size between 22mm and 27mm whilst the female have a slightly wider range of between 23mm and 30mm.

Burnished Opal - Chrysoritis chrysaor

The distribution of the Chrysoritis chrysaor is widespread in South Africa, but mainly in the east. It is also found in fynbos up the west coast of the Western Cape, in Nama Karoo or Western Cape and Eastern Cape, in the valley bushveld near Port Alfred, Kwazulu Natal, Free State, South Mpumalanga and Gauteng.

Burnished Opal - Chrysoritis chrysaor

Burnished Opal’s flight period is all year round at the coast, but peaks in November and February at high altitudes.

Burnished Opal - Chrysoritis chrysaor

It’s habitats include the following; Coasts, flatlands, mountains, hillsides and rocky slopes. Their larval foodplants include; Tylecondon paniculatus, Cotyledon orbiculata, Zygophyllum sessilifolium and Zygophyllum retrofractum, Acacia karroo and Rhus spp. The larvae is associated with Crematorgaster nr liengmei ants.

References: Steve Woodhalls book “Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa

Chrysoritis chrysaor -- Burnished opal -  Besembos Goue-opaal

Eyed Pansy – Junonia orithya madagascariensis

This photograph was taken in Port Elizabeth at the back of the suburb known as Linton Grange.  She was really obliging and sat really still for the forty odd shots that I took of her. This image was one of the photos that I really liked, but it was a little busy, so toned down the background a little to bring the butterfly out a bit.
The Eyed Pansy has its territories on hill tops, ridges and will sit on the ground or on low vegetation. It will chase away intruders to its territory  even if the intruders are bigger butterflies than itself. The Eyed Pansy is common, but  not as common as the Yellow Pansy. Can be found from Eastern Cape to KwaZulu Natal, Swaziland, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng, Freestate, Northern Cape and North West Provinces. Their habitats include hill tops, parks, gardens and forest edges. It’s larval food is Scrophulariaceae snapdragons, and the common South African foodplant is Graderia subintegra – Wild Penstemon.
Most of this information was supplied from Steve Woodhalls book
Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa
Blue Pansy

Common Blue Butterfly

The Common Blue, also known as Leptotes pirithous pirithous, are small butterflies in the Genus Leptotes. They are from the family Lycaenidae. Other names for this butterfly are; Lang’s Short-tailed Blue and Common Zebra Blue. The wingspan is 21 to 29 mm for males and 24 to 30 mm for females. Leptotes is part of a group of 4 blues namely: The Common Blue, Short toothed Blue, Jeannel’s Blue and Babault’s Blue. They are impossible to tell apart and genital dissection is the only reliable method of doing so. Blues are attracted to wet mud with other blues and to the blue flowers of the Plumbago auriculata plant.
Most of this information was supplied from Steve Woodhalls book
Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa

Common Blue Butterfly

Citrus Swallowtail Butterfly

From the family Papilionidae, subfamily Papilioninae and genus Papilio come the Swallowtail butterflies. Papilio is the largest genus in the family and it has species all over the world. Dispite the name, swallowtails are often tailless. The Citrus Swallowtail Butterfly is common throughout South Africa, particularly in wooded areas and gardens. This Citrus Swallowtail was shot at Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Citrus Swallowtail Butterfly

Amazing Looking Caterpillar

On a trip to the van Stadens Flower Reserve just outside Port Elizabeth, we came across an area covered with Watsonia flowers. These watsonias were covered with these beautiful colorful caterpillars. The whole problem with caterpillars, is when it comes to identifying them. There are so many varieties of these, that identifying them is really quite a daunting task! Since the posting of this picture, the caterpillar has been identified as a Pine Tree Emperor Moth (Imbrasia cytheraea). The caterpillar was identified by Stephen Woodhall, author of the book “Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa

Pine Tree Emperor Moth Caterpillar