Tag Archive: South African butterflies

Common and Water Geranium Bronze Butterflies

Both the Geranium Bronze (Cacyreus marshalli) and the Water Bronze (Cacyreus tespis tespis) are butterflies from the  family Lycaenidae. They are both small, low-flying butterflies, with the undersides a ground-colour brown, irrorated with white. The fore-wing has a series of darker brown spots edged with white. The hind wing underside is marbled with brown, white and black and the upper side is either blue or shiny brown. The eggs laid  resemble the shape of pills, with a concave top and a pattern of ribs in involuted curves, radiating from the micropyl, forming triangles and quadrangles. There are small knobs where the ribs cross. Their lava are slug-shaped and are green or pale pink. You would find the pupa beneath the debris of the food plant, in this case either Lamiaceae (mint plants) or Geraniaceae (geraniums, pelargoniums).

Geranium Bronze (Cacyreus marshalli)
The male size ranges from 15-23 mm whilst the female ranges from 18-27 mm.

  • Their distribution is very widespread, probably originally in the south-western parts of South Africa, but have spread to the rest of the country and even up to Europe. Found in forests, savanna, grasslands from Western Cape to Eastern Cape, along the coast, along the Drakensberg at varying altitudes and into Natal, Freestate, Lesotho,  Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North West Province.
  • Their habitats are parks, gardens, gullies, mountains, coast, hillsides, wetlands and flatlands.
  • Flight period is all year round in warmer areas, usually August to May, at highest altitudes only December and January.
  • Laval Food are buds, flowers and green seeds of Geranium and Pelargonium spp.

Cacyreus marshalli  - Common geranium bronze

 

Cacyreus marshalli  - Common geranium bronze

Water Bronze or Blue Bronze (Cacyreus tespis tespis)
The male size ranges from 15-25 mm whilst the female ranges from 17-25 mm.

  • Their distribution is also widespread, common to grassland. From Western Cape to Eastern Cape, along the coast, along the Drakensberg at varying altitudes (up to 3000m) and into Natal, Freestate, Lesotho, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo.
  • Their habitats are  gullies, mountains, coast and wetlands.
  • Flight period is all year round in warmer areas, usually August to May, at highest altitudes only December and January.
  • Laval Food are buds, flowers and green seeds of Geranium and Pelargonium spp.

Cacyreus fracta fracta - Water geranium bronze - Water-malvabloutjie

 

Cacyreus fracta fracta - Water geranium bronze - Water-malvabloutjie

 

African Grass Blue – Zizeeria knysna knysna

This little African Grass Blue, Zizeeria knysna knysna, was shot in one of the suburbs close to where I live in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  Another tricky little butterfly to photography as it is really skittish. It is a common, widespread butterfly, which one will find throughout South Africa. The Zizeeria knysna knysna is also known as the Sooty Blue.  It habitats gardens, parks and fields, flatlands, wetlands, forest edges, mountains and hillsides. They fly all year round, but peak from October to December and February to April. Their larval foods include Tribulus terrestris (devil’s thorn), Amaranthus deflexus and Amaranthus viridis, Oxalis corniculata (Yellow Wood Sorrel) and  Medicago saltiva (Lucerne plant). Most of this information was supplied from Steve Woodhalls book “Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa“.

African grass blue

African Clouded Yellow Butterfly

One of the rare opportunities I have had to snap one of these stunning butterflies. They are from the family Pieridae and subfamily Coliadinae. The genus is Colias, which contains the Clouded Yellows.  These two butterflies are African Clouded Yellows or Lucerne ButterfliesColias electo electo.
The distributions of Colias electo electo  are throughout South Africa in all biomes. African Clouded Yellows’ habitats included; fields, parks, gardens, coastal areas, forest edges, mountains and wetlands. Their flight is throughout the year, but will peak between April and August. The lava will eat Lucerne (Medicago Saltiva).

These two photos were taken in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

 

African Clouded Yellow Butterfly

Another Clouded Yellow, shot on a different day, but looks a little on the damaged side.

African Clouded Yellow Butterfly

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

Common Dotted Border Butterfly

The Common Dotted Border Butterfly or Mylothris Agathina Agathina can be found in most of South Africa. It is a butterfly of the Pieridae family It is common along the coastal forests and in wooded country areas. Its habitats are forest edges, parks, gardens, flatlands, coasts and hillsides. The wingspan is 50 to 60 millimetres for males and 52 to 65 mm for females. The adults are on wing year round, with peaks in October and from late February to April. This particular specimen was photoed at Assegaaibosch Country Lodge in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Common Dotted Border Butterfly

Squinting Bush Brown Butterfly

Bush brown butterflies are part of the genus Bicyclus. These are dull brown butterflies with the underside having numerous large and small eye spots. The are fond of fermenting fruit and favor shady areas. The typical wingspan for this butterfly is around 35-45mm depending on gender. They live in forests and flatlands and are well camouflaged when sitting on dead leaves. This butterfly’s picture was take at Assegaaibosch Country Lodge

Squinting Bush Brown Butterfly