Butterflies Butterflies

Butterflies

Butterflies live almost anywhere in the world, with tropical rain forests being the most popular habitat. Deserts, woodlands, fields and mountain tops also play their part in hosting these beautiful insects. Their main feature is undoubtedly their multi-coloured wings, arranged in superb patterns. Butterfly originates from the Old English word buterfleoge meaning 'butter' and 'flying creature'. Both butterflies and moths form an insect group called Lepidoptera. This name comes from 2 Greek words lepis meaning 'scale' and pteron for 'wing'. This title refers to the powdery scale which covers the 2 pairs of wings on both butterflies and moths. Butterflies differ from moths in a number of ways though:

Most butterflies fly during the day. Most moths fly at dusk or at night.

The antennae of most butterflies are 'knobbed'. The antennae of most moths are not 'knobbed'.

Many species of butterfly have slender, hairless bodies. The majority of moths have plump, furry bodies.

Most butterflies rest with their wings held upright over their bodies whereas most moths rest with their wings spread out flat.

Butterflies are usually brightly coloured, moths are mainly dull brown. Day-flying moths are colourful as are some nocturnal species.

The fore and hind wings of a butterfly beat together as they overlap. The wings of a moth are held together by a 'frenulum' holding them together in flight.

The pupae of a butterfly are often naked, forming outdoors in the open. The pupae of moths form underground or in a sturdy cocoon.

Habitats: Butterflies favour certain types of land and terrain. Good places to look for them include rivers, hilltops, forest paths and clearing. Groups of butterfly do not necessarily stick to the same habitat and can often be found in more than one. They can regularly be found in town areas, small gardens attract many species, botanical gardens even more. Large forests will attract certain types, look down on the forest floor as well as up into the canopy. Don't forget butterflies clearings and paths either. Always lookout for good nectar plants. as well as forest streams and rivers where they display patrolling behaviour and mud puddle which they use for drinking. Many flowering plants grow along river banks.

Nectar Plants: Huge assemblies or 'clouds' of butterfly are attracted to a number of indigenous plants. Unfortunately this preference includes the aliens species of lantana (Lantana camara) and tall verbena (Verbena bonariensis). Two indigenous species of plant that are irresistible to certain butterflies are:

Smooth tinderwood (Clerodendrum glabrum): This is an evergreen or semi-deciduous shrub (or small tree) that grows up to 6m. Butterflies are attracted to the white, tubular petals. The fruit is a round, fleshy berry. Crushed leaves can be used as an insect repellent. Smooth tinderwood can be found near Epupa Falls and other areas nearby on the Kunene River. They attract the White-barred Acraea.

Mesembryanthemum spp: There are 4 species of Mesembryanthemum found scattered in south-west Namibia including Fish River Canyon. Large numbers of Pan Opal, Bars and Coppers nectar on their flowers.

The life cycle of a butterfly:

The life of an adult butterfly centres entirely around reproduction, beginning with courtship. Sight and smell are 2 important factors and once a suitable mate has been selected, the process begins. Soon after mating the male butterfly dies and the female begins her search for a suitable place to lay her eggs.

A butterfly is an insect. All insects lay eggs after mating. The female butterfly lays her eggs on a suitable food plant, often detected by smell.

The eggs hatch into larvae, or small immature caterpillars.

The caterpillar spends the majority of its time eating, outgrowing the skin which does not grow.

Each skin is shed and a number of moults take place.

Usually there are between 4 to 6 moults.

Each stage between these moults is called an instar.

Once fully grown the caterpillar rests where a chrysalis or pupa develops inside the final caterpillar skin.

Eventually the skin splits and the chrysalis emerges.

Inside the chrysalis, a butterfly will gradually take shape.

The shell then breaks open and out comes the adult butterfly.

The wings expand and off it flies to find a mate and reproduce!

Butterfly anatomy: The body of a butterfly consists of 3 sections:

The head: This is the centre of sensation and bears the butterflies eyes, antennae and mouthparts.

Compound eyes are on each side of the head, consisting of thousands of minute lenses. An image of every part of the surroundings is provided by each lens and the brain then combines these images into an overall view.

Between the eyes are 2 long, slender antennae. The antennae are a butterfly's organs of smell, used to locate food and to find a partner. They probably serve as hearing and touch organs.

A butterfly caterpillar has chewing mouthparts composed of 2 lips and 2 pairs of jaws. These components re-form as a caterpillar morphs into an adult butterfly. One pair of jaws almost disappears and the other becomes a proboscis, or a long sucking tube. It coils up when not in use and the lips create a sheath for the proboscis. The butterfly uses this proboscis to suck in nectar and other liquids.

The thorax: This is the middle section of a butterfly's body. There is a short neck that connects the thorax to the insect's head. Attached to the thorax are the adult wings and the 6 legs of the larva and adult.

The abdomen: Carries a butterfly's sexual organs and the gut for digesting food and getting rid of waste products.

Other parts of a butterfly include:

Wings: Butterflies have 4 wings. There are 2 forewings and 2 hindwings with a network of veins running through them. Blood is pumped through the veins to warm the wings. Butterflies cannot fly if their body temperature is less than 30°C. Thousands of minute overlapping scales form the wing patterns and colouration.

Legs: Butterflies have 3 pairs of legs, each leg consisting of 5 essential segments. The joints between the segments allow a butterfly to move its legs in a variety of directions. At the end of each leg is a pair of claws and hairy pads, used to grip surfaces. The hairs on the pads are taste organs. Even though butterflies can walk it is only for short distances.

Internal organs: There are 5 main systems that make up a butterfly's internal organs. They are:

Circulatory: Carries the blood throughout the body.

Nervous: Consists of a brain, located in the head, and 2 nerve cords that run through the thorax and abdomen.

Respiratory: Carries oxygen to the cells of the body and removes carbon dioxide.

Digestive: A long tube that extends from the mouth to the anus.

Reproductive: Butterflies reproduce sexually.

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Wandering Donkey Acraea

Wandering Donkey Acraeas (Acraea neobule neobule) are slow, ground-hugging fliers that occur in open grassland and bushveld areas. They are seldom seen in large numbers, preferring to fly singly.

Braine's Acraea

Braine's Acraea (Acraea acraea brainei) frequent granite outcrops, hills or ridges. Distinctive wing shape and markings.

Pale Yellow Acraea

Pale Yellow Acraeas (Acraea obeira meyeri) have been observed flying slowly around trees on the tops of koppies. Granite outcrops are also favoured.

Marsh Acraea

The hurried flight of the Marsh Acraea (Acraea rahira rahira), can be seen close to streams, dams, rivers and marshes. Swarms of adults can be seen in these habitats.

Small Orange Acraea

Small Orange Acraeas (Acraea eponina eponina) inhabit the edges of rainforests and other wooded areas with low plants.

Small Yellow Banded Acraea

Small Yellow Banded Acraeas (Acraea acerata) vary in size, some are very small, and colouration. A common marshland species, they are slow in flight and tend to stay close to riverine bush netted quite easily.

Dusky Acraea

Dusky Acraeas (Acraea esebria esebria) are a common woodland species that tend to fly slowly along the edges of forests, making it fairly easy to net.

Common Mimic/White-barred acraea

White-barred Acraeas are also known as Common Mimics. They form fulva, which is 'a close Muellerian mimic of the African Monarch, but half the size'. Flying around hilltops at midday is a feature.

Fiery Acraea

Fiery Acraea (Acraea acrita acrita) is a bright red insect that inhabits rocky outcrops and on some mountainous regions of the country.

Natal Acraea

Enthusiasts hoping to catch a glimpse of a Natal Acraea (Acraea natalica natalica) can expect them to display a somewhat zig-zag flight pattern, which becomes more rapid when they are disturbed. Wooded habitats are favoured.

Streaky-tipped Acraea

Streaky-tipped Acraeas (Acraea (S) atergatis) can be observed in open savannah. They are fast fliers, fluttering close to the ground. An evasive critter when a net appears.

Suffused Acraea

Suffused Acraea (Acraea (S) stenobea) can be observed in a dry bushveld habitat. They are slow fliers, usually amongst thorn bushes.

Lygus Acraea

Lygus Acraea (Acraea (S) lygus) prefer drier bushveld areas of Namibia and is common in its distribution range.

Rooibok/Window Acraea

I ntroduction: Rooibok/Window Acraeas (Acraea oncaea) are plentiful in bushveld areas, fluttering above the ground before settling on low plants.

Little Acraea

Little Acraeas (Acraea (S) axina) also favour bushveld habitats where they can be observed flying around tree tops on hilltops, a flight pattern which isn't usually compatible for such a small insect.

Ella's Acraea

Ella's Acraea (Acraea (S) ella) was first described in Etosha in 1984 by H.C. Ficq. They inhabit bushveld habitats of the country and are often mistaken for the Little Acraea.

Scarlet Acraea

Scarlet Acraeas (Acraea) atolmis) are low fliers for an Acraea, often on the move for some time after being disturbed. They inhabit savannah regions of the country.

Large Spotted Acraea

Large Spotted Acraeas (Acraea (A) zetes) are large, slow fliers who frequent thornveld that will fly high if disturbed, making them difficult to catch.

Acara Acraea

A subspecies of Acara Acraea (Acraea (A) acraea), A (A) acara melanophanes occurs in wooded areas such as Terminalia and Pruniodes, fluttering slowly along its route, often resting on leaves on trees or on flowers.

Trimen's Acraea

Trimen's Acraea (Acraea (A) trimeni) favour the tops of koppies, an ideal location for them to choose a prominent perch which they hover around.

Namibian Acraea

Namibian Acraeas (Acraea (A) hypoleuca) fly in gullies where their favoured food plant grow.

Broad-bordered Acraea

Broad-bordered Acraeas (Acraea anemosa) favour open-wooded areas, where they flutter around above the ground.

Common Dotted Border

Common Dotted Borders inhabit wooded areas.

African Veined White

African Veined Whites are fast fliers that settle on flowers or on the ground. It is a common woodland species.

Meadow White

Meadow Whites are usually the first species of butterfly to emerge in spring.

Banded Gold Tip

Banded Gold Tips are both seasonally and sexually dimorphic.

Bushveld Orange Tip

Bushveld Orange Tips fly slowly and close to the ground in bushveld regions.

Common Orange Tip

The low, rapid flight of the Common Orange Tips can be observed in open thornveld, where they tend to settle on flowers or on the ground.

Doubleday's Orange Tip

Doubleday's Orange Tip resemble closely the Veined Orange Tip.

Kalahari Orange Tip

Kalahari Orange Tips closely resemble Bushveld Orange Tips. They fly close to the ground in grass, making them easy to catch.

Lilac Tip

Lilac Tips hover 'hummingbird' fashion above the ground close to a tree, an action it repeats frequently, especially along roadsides.

Purple Tip

Purple Tips settle frequently in bushveld and thorn areas, giving ample opportunities to catch it.

Queen Purple Tip

Because Queen Purple Tips are relatively fast they are not easily netted unawares unless they have settled on a flower.

Red Tip

Red Tips are one of the most widespread and common butterflies of this species.

Scarlet Tip

Scarlet Tips inhabit savannah and thornveld. They are low fliers, speeding rapidly through open savannah, stopping to settle on flowers.

Small Orange Tip

Small Orange Tips are weak fliers so they tend to fly close to the ground, settling on flowers or on the ground.

Smoky Orange Tip

A Smoky Orange Tip can be observed in open thornveld habitats.

Speckled Sulpher Tip

Speckled Sulpher Tips are fast fliers, racing around their food plants before they settle on flowers.

Topaz Tip

Topaz Tips are also called the Topaz Arab. They fly close to the ground slowly, stopping to feed on flowers.

Veined Orange

Veined Orange is also called a Veined Tip. They fly slowly close to the ground in an open savannah habitat.

Autumn-Leaf Vagrant

Autumn-leaf Vagrants are also known as the Orange-and-Lemon Butterfly. They are the brightest coloured Vagrant in Namibia.

Buquet's Vagrant

Buquet's Vagrant inhabit scrub and woodland.

Cambridge Vagrant

Cambridge Vagrants are attractive but shy butterflies that hang around the edge of forests and thick bush, only coming out in the open to feed and sun itself.

Lemon Traveller

Lemon Travellers remain active until sunset.

Large Striped Swallowtail

Large Striped Swordtails are a woodland and bushveld habitat butterfly.

Cream Striped Swordtail

Cream Striped Swordtails can be observed in savannah and wooded areas.

Common Dart

Common Darts are also called Nomad Darts. They are long-winged migrants but weak fliers.

Flower-Girl Hopper

Flower-girl Hoppers inhabit grassland or savannah habitats. Observations can usually be made on hilltop rocks and boulders.

Shona Hopper

Shona Hoppers inhabit shrubs and trees. They settle low down on these plants, the late afternoon being the best time to observe or catch them.

Small Hopper

Small Hoppers inhabit riverine bush or wooded bushveld regions.

Small Elvin

A Small Elvin inhabits open bushveld, often darting about in the shade of trees.

Dark Elvin

Dark Elvins love the shade. They also fly close the ground under large trees.

Namibian Elvin

Namibian Elvins are endemic to Namibia.

Palm-Tree Night-Fighter

The stream-lined wings and body of Palm-tree night-fighters give them the appearance of a Hawk Moth.

Spotless Policeman

Spotless Policeman are common and widespread favouring savannah, forest and grassland habitats.

Striped Policeman

A Striped Policeman is common and widespread and can be observed along the edge of rainforests and savannah habitats.

Two-Pip Policeman

The fast-flying Two-pip Policeman is often seen on flowering plants in a bushveld habitat and along forest edges.

Chequered Ranger

Chequered Rangers rest on stones. They also frequent the tops of koppies around midday, settling on vegetation or grass.

Black-Veined Ranger

Black-veined Rangers have similar size, colouration and habitats to Chequered Rangers, a species they are often mistaken for.

Pale Ranger

A Pale Ranger is a small skipper that heads for the shade of low bushes or under trees.

Single-Stitch Ranger

Single-stitch Rangers are also known as AWOL Skippers.

Black-Banded Swift

Black-banded Swifts fly quickly about open, woody areas or along the edges of forests.

Olive-Haired Swift

Apart from their colourings, the Olive-haired Swift has a very elongated forewing.

Common Hottentot Skipper

Common Hottentot Skippers inhabit grassland, close to forests and savannah habitats.

Dark Hottentot Skipper

The darting zig-zagging flight pattern of the Dark Hottentot Skipper can often be observed around shrubs, low vegetation and stones, all sites it would select to settle on.

Dusky Skipper

Dusky Skippers are also known as a Dusky Elf.

Long-Horned Skipper

Long-horned Skippers prefer to settle on shrubs or low grass on the edge of bush.

Paradise Skipper

The common name of the Paradise Skipper reflects the wonderful colours of this species.

Spotted Velvet Skipper

Male Spotted Velvet Skippers can be observed flying around for ages with other species of butterfly on the tops of koppies.

Zambezi Skipper

Zambezi Skippers inhabit bushveld. Females are scarce and this species is often found at the lower areas of koppies feeding on flowers.

White-Cloaked Skipper

Male White-cloaked Skippers establish territories, usually on the tops of koppies at midday and defend their ground against intruders from an established vantage point, usually a low, but prominent perch.

Bushveld Sandman

A Bushveld Sandman is a fast low flier that often settle on shrubs, flowers or on the ground in dry bushveld habitats.

Delagoa Sandman

A Delagoa Sandman is known to fly close to the ground, usually around short grass, settling on mud or flowers with their wings open or at 45°.

Dwarf Sandman

The Dwarf Sandman flies around singly, usually feeding on flowers.

Guinea Fowl

Guinea Fowl (Hamanumida daedalus) inhabit savannah, a suitable location for them to settle on dusty paths with their wings open, taking off to resettle close by. Sandy and rocky sites are also favoured. Daedulus is the legendary craftsman and sculptor, t

Rosa's Tree Nymph

Rosa's Tree Nymph (Sallya rosa) can be observed fluttering along the edge of forests. Their irregular, gliding flight is punctuated regularly whilst they sit on trunks or branches of trees (hence the common name).

Trimen's Tree Nymph

Trimen's Tree Nymph (S. trimeni) are a shy insect that find another tree trunk to perch on if disturbed.

Common Joker

Common Jokers (Byblia anvatara achelola) favour an open savannah or grassland habitat. This allows them to fly close to the ground. They are attracted to banana bait traps and as they are a slow flier can be caught quite easily.

Spotted Joker

Spotted Jokers (Byblia ilithyea) can stay at the same patch of ground for a number of consecutive days, opening and closing their wings. They inhabit savannah and dry grassland.

Gaudy Commodore

The seasonal dimorphism of Gaudy Commodores (Junonia octavia sesamus) are so different, for many years they were considered to be 2 species. They hibernate under the banks of streams in the winter and in the summer they frequent hilltops where they 'dogf

Darker Commodore

Male Darker Commodores (P. (P) antilope) are known to fly to the tops of hills at midday. As they settle on the ground or on vegetation, they can be easy to net. Their fondness for nectar allows them to be approached.

Monarch False Acraea

Monarch False Acraeas (P. Poggei) look like Bitter Acraeas. They settle with their wings open, 'fanning' or 'pumping' their wings slowly up and down.

Jordan’s Sailer

Jordan’s Sailer (N. jordani) fly low and slow, often settling on low-growing vegetation, near to the water's edge.

Common Mothers-of-pearl

 The unique shape and colour of Common Mothers-of-pearl (P. parhassus)can be observed flying along the edges of riverine forest, where it will settle on low shrubs or leaves of trees.

Eyed Pansy

As an Eyed Pansy (P. (J) orithya) is very shy, they would not hesitate to fly off quickly at the sight of a butterfly net. Forest and woodland are favoured habitats. Expect them to settle frequently on the ground, with their wings open. Males patrol for

Dusky Sapphire

Dusky Sapphire (I. (S.) subinfuscata subinfuscata) can be found fluttering around food plants or settled on trees or bushes. They prefer the country's drier habitats.

Obscure Sapphire

Little is known of Obscure Sapphires (I. (E) obscurus), having been re-described after the male genitalia was examined. The dark undersides were deemed 'most unusual'.

Zimbabwe Yellow-banded Sapphire

Although usually found elsewhere in southern Africa, a specimen of Zimbabwe Yellow-banded Sapphire (I.(E) nasisii) was found in northern Namibia, although it is very rare in this country.

Azure Hairstreak

Azure Hairstreak (Hemiolaus caeculus caeculus) can be found in sitting on bare twigs of acacia thorn trees. It is the brightest of Hairstreaks and frequent dry savannah and wooded riverine areas.

Purple-brown Hairstreak

Purple-brown Hairstreaks (H. (H.) philippus) are a territorial species, usually perching on the side of a tree or a low shrub. From these vantage points, they can anticipate intruderal behaviour.

Cape Black-eye

Cape Black-eyes (Gonatomyrina lara) are a territorial species that can be found amongst rocks on slopes of hills and in valleys. Their habitat range extends from sea level to mountainous regions.

Henning's Black-eye

Henning's Black-eye (L. (G.) henningi) settle low down on prominent rocks or shrubs. Their wings will either be closed or at an angle of around 45º.

Apricot Playboy

Male Apricot Playboys (D. (V.) dinochares) can be observed on hilltop trees and at the edges of clearings. Their wings sit at 45º, an indication they are on the lookout for intruders.

Common Fig-tree Blue

Common Fig-tree Blues (Myrina silenus suzannae) are fast fliers often gathering on trees or koppies. They usually settle with their wings half-opened

Eriksson's High-flier

Eriksson's High-flier (A. (A.) erikssoni) are named after Axel Eriksson, a 19th century explorer. They inhabit hilltops bearing their wings at 45º, behaviour that aides in identification.

Ella's Bar

Ella's Bar (S. ella) inhabit thorn or savannah regions. Koppies are a favoured midday playtime location. Darting out from a perch on a tree in pursuit of invaders is common.

Homeyer's Bar

Homeyer's Bar (S. homeyeri) is a rare butterfly that can be found in both summer and winter colours. Their main habitat is hilltops.

Natal Bar

Natal Bars (Spindasis natalensis) are also known as Natal Barred Blues. They prefer wooded regions, bush and savannah, often flying around at midday, especially on the tops of koppies. Their preference for flowers is well-noted.

Silvery Bar

Silvery Bar (Spindasis phanes) can be observed in savannah habitats. Low flowers are a preferred resting site.

Common Scarlets

Common Scarlet (Axiocerses tjoane) and are as the name suggests common and widespread in the country. They fly together around thorn bushes and can be found in many wooded regions of northern Namibia.

Damara Copper

Damara Coppers (A. damarensis) inhabit hilltops and rocks or a small gully or dry riverbed. Females are seen less regularly than males, usually on flowers.

Dusky Copper

Dusky Coppers (A. taikosama) inhabit very dry areas although they are most frequently seen in savannah or grassland regions.

Eriksson's Copper

Eriksson's Copper (E. acraeina) can be observed by their conspicuous slow fluttering flight. Males rest with their wings folded on low bushes or grass stems. They are listed as vulnerable.

Karoo Daisy Copper

Karoo Daisy Coppers (C. chrysantas) do not always return to the same flowers once disturbed. Like many other species of Coppers, they frequently visit hilltops.

Namibian Copper

Namibian Coppers (Aloeides namibiensis) inhabit dry semi-desert.

Silver-spotted Grey Copper

  Silver-spotted Grey Coppers (Crudaria leroma) can be observed just before sunset and just after sunrise. During these periods they are noticeably more energetic, especially flying low and fast in and around trees, before settling on low vegetation and

Teare's Copper

Little information has been recorded of Teare's Copper (Aloeides tearei) other than they fly rapidly over very short distances, usually in very dry areas before settling on rocks or the ground with their wings folded. Their fast flight patterns make them

Otacilia Hairtail

Otacilia Hairtails (A. otacilia) often fly around the tops of acacia trees before settling on the flowers or leaves.

Dickson's Geranium Bronze

Dickson's Geranium Bronze (C. dicksoni) shelter from the wind behind Karoo bushes such as Karoo kuni-bush found in southern Namibia, or the sour karee found in northern Namibia.

Ashen Smokey Blue

Ashen Smokey Blues (E. subpallida) are a grassland species. Some specimens have been observed in savannah habitats. They perch with their wings closed and are fond of nectar.

Common Smoky Blue

Common Smoky Blue (E. malathana) favour thornveld and grassland habitats, where they flutter around ground level.

Cupreous Blue

Cupreous Blues (Elcochrysops messapus) prefer bushveld typically inhabited with an abundant amount of thorn-trees. They love flying through long, damp grass.

Dusky Blue

Dusky Blues (P. sichela sichela) prefer high perches on trees to fly down to muddy patches to drink.

Hintza Blue

Hintza Blues (Z. hintza krooni) normally flutter around low vegetation. Males head for an isolated tree near a thick bush to establish their own territory. Flying fast and high is no problem for the male, especially to ward off intruders.

Michelle's Blue

Michelle's Blue (L. michellae) have unique genitalia, labial palpi, markings and shape of their wings. They can be observed in grassland near riverine bush as well as flying through countryside savanna bush.

Osiris Smokey Blue

Male Osiris Smokey Blues (E. osiris) can be observed at midday on the tops of koppies. Both sexes flutter near the ground, sucking at damp patches close to streams.

Patricia Blue

Patricia Blues (Lepidochrysops patricia) are known to fly quickly over a grass and bushveld habitat and on to hilltops.

Sabi Smokey Blue

Sabi Smokey Blues (E. dolorosa) are localized but fairly widespread in bushveld and some grassveld zones.

Sesbania Blue

The Sesbania Blue (L. pulcher) butterfly is named after the tree of the same name. They flutter around slowly, usually about the orange flowers of the tall sesbania shrubs.

Tailed Meadow Blue

Tailed Meadow Blue (C. jobates jobates) is a grassland species. It is not unusual for them to be seen flying with pieces missing from their hindwings as birds and lizards mistake the tail for a 'false head'.

Topaz-spotted Blue

Topaz-spotted Blues (Azanus jesous) are quite easily caught as they flutter around Acacia trees in flower. Sucking at damp mud is also a feature of this butterfly.

Tinktinkie Blue

Tinktinkie Blue (B. metophis) can be observed in some numbers near their food plant. They prefer a drier interior habitat.

Twin-spot Blue

Twin-spot Blues (Lepidochrysops plebeia) are widespread and common in open woodland and grassland habitats.

White-tipped Blue

White-tipped Blues (Elcochrysops hippocrates) favour bushy stream banks, where they can flutter around on low vegetation before settling on leaves.

Common Dotted Border

Common Dotted Borders (Mylothris agathina) inhabit wooded areas. They are common and widespread in their distribution range.

African Veined White

African Veined Whites (Belenois gidica) are fast fliers that settle on flowers or on the ground. It is a common woodland species. Accurate observations can be difficult because it is both seasonally and sexually dimorphic.

Meadow White

Meadow Whites (Pontia helice helice) are usually the first species of butterfly to emerge in spring. It is appropriately named because it occurs in meadows and old fields, preferring open country and grasslands. Large numbers are a common sight.

Banded Gold Tip

Banded Gold Tips (Colotis eris eris) are both seasonally and sexually dimorphic. As they are fast and erratic bushveld fliers, they can be difficult to net.

Bushveld Orange Tip

Bushveld Orange Tips (Colotis pallene) fly slowly and close to the ground in bushveld regions.

Common Orange Tip

The low, rapid flight of the Common Orange Tips (Colotis (C.) evenina) can be observed in open thornveld, where they tend to settle on flowers or on the ground. Males patrol a well-defined area, by patrolling a particular path.

Doubleday's Orange Tip

Doubleday's Orange Tip (Colotis doubledayl angolanus) resemble closely the Veined Orange Tip. They patrol close to the ground or flying up and down dirt roads in dry habitats.

Kalahari Orange Tip

Kalahari Orange Tips (Colotis (C.) lais) closely resemble Bushveld Orange Tips. They fly close to the ground in grass, making them easy to catch.

Lilac Tip

Lilac Tips (Colotis (C.) celimene) hover 'hummingbird' fashion above the ground close to a tree, an action it repeats frequently, especially along roadsides.

Purple Tip

Purple Tips (Colotis ione) settle frequently in bushveld and thorn areas, giving ample opportunities to catch it. The name 'ione' is derived from the a sea nymph of the same name, 1 of 50 Nereides daughters of the Greek mythological sea god, Nereus.

Queen Purple Tip

Because Queen Purple Tips (Colotis regina) are relatively fast they are not easily netted unawares unless they have settled on a flower. Males look for females by flying around larval host-plants trees. Small koppies and hilltops are favoured locations.

Red Tip

Red Tips (Colotis antevippe gavisa) are one of the most widespread and common butterflies of this species. Similar to other members of this genus it display seasonal and sexual dimorphism. Habitats include savannah bushveld and open woodland.

Scarlet Tip

Scarlet Tips (Colotis danae annae) inhabit savannah and thornveld. They are low fliers, speeding rapidly through open savannah, stopping to settle on flowers.

Small Orange Tip

Small Orange Tips (Colotis (C.) evagore) are weak fliers so they tend to fly close to the ground, settling on flowers or on the ground. They prefer bush or open forests, steering clear of forests.

Smoky Orange Tip

A Smoky Orange Tip (Colotis (C.) evippe omphale) can be observed in open thornveld habitats. The name Omphale is derived from a Lydian queen of Greek mythology who not only had an affair with Hercules but was noted for her adventures in a lion skin.

Speckled Sulpher Tip

Speckled Sulpher Tips (Colotis agoye agoye) are fast fliers, racing around their food plants before they settle on flowers. Bushveld habitats are preferred.

Topaz Tip

Topaz Tips (Colotis amata calais) are also called the Topaz Arab. They fly close to the ground slowly, stopping to feed on flowers. Expect to observe them in savannah woodland and bushveld.

Veined Orange/Veined Tip

Veined Orange (Colotis (C.) vesta mutans) is also called a Veined Tip. They fly slowly close to the ground in an open savannah habitat. Vesta originates from Roman mythology; the striking colours of this butterfly are constant with Vesta being the goddes

Autumn-leaf Vagrant

Autumn-leaf Vagrants (Eronia leda) are also known as the Orange-and-Lemon Butterfly. They are the brightest coloured Vagrant in Namibia. Late afternoon is the best time to seek and catch as they slow down then and look and feed on flowers. Bushveld is a

Buquet's Vagrant

Buquet's Vagrant (Nepheronia buquetii buquetii) inhabit scrub and woodland.

Cambridge Vagrant

Cambridge Vagrants (Nepheronia thalassina sinalata) are attractive but shy butterflies that hang around the edge of forests and thick bush, only coming out in the open to feed and sun itself. If disturbed, they will head for the safety and cover of the u

Lemon Traveller

Lemon Travellers (Colotis subfasciatus subfasciatus) remain active until sunset. As soon as the sun disappears behind clouds though, they become inactive settling on open sandy ground to wait for the sun to reappear.

Common Dart

Common Darts (Andronymus neander) are also called Nomad Darts. They are long-winged migrants but weak fliers. They are attracted to feeding on low flowers, an excellent time for netting.

Flower-girl Hopper

Flower-girl Hoppers (P.neba) inhabit grassland or savannah habitats. Observations can usually be made on hilltop rocks and boulders.

Shona Hopper

Shona Hoppers (Platylesches shona) inhabit shrubs and trees. They settle low down on these plants, the late afternoon being the best time to observe or catch them. Favourite twigs and leaves are re-visited repeatedly, often after they have fought off int

Small Hopper

Small Hoppers (Platylesches tina) inhabit riverine bush or wooded bushveld regions. They fly around the lower areas of trees on the upper slopes of well-wooded hills.

Small Elvin

A Small Elvin (Sarangesa phidyle) inhabits open bushveld, often darting about in the shade of trees. They are attracted to flowers and settle with their wings held flat.

Dark Elvin

Dark Elvins (Sarangesa seineri) love the shade. They also fly close the ground under large trees. Thorn and savannah habitats are preferred and they are often observed on steep hillsides and dry river beds.

Namibian Elvin

Namibian Elvins ( Sarangesa gaerdesi) are endemic to Namibia. They settle on the leaves of food plants in the late afternoon with their wings held open, changing later to half-closed. Rapid flight patterns are common

Palm-tree night-fighter

The stream-lined wings and body of Palm-tree night-fighters ( Zophopetes dysmephila) give them the appearance of a Hawk Moth. The rounded wing tips are an aide in identification, which make a 'clapping' noise in flight.

Spotless Policeman

Spotless Policeman (Coellades libeon) are common and widespread favouring savannah, forest and grassland habitats. Feeding on flowers or sucking moisture from river and stream banks is common, which aides netting.

Striped Policeman

A Striped Policeman (Coellades forestan) is common and widespread and can be observed along the edge of rainforests and savannah habitats. They are active from early dawn to dusk searching for nectar.

Two-pip Policeman

The fast-flying Two-pip Policeman (Coellades pisistratus) is often seen on flowering plants in a bushveld habitat and along forest edges. Its hilltop whirling flight is unique.

Chequered Ranger

Chequered Rangers (Kedestes lepenula) rest on stones. They also frequent the tops of koppies around midday, settling on vegetation or grass.

Black-veined Ranger

Black-veined Rangers (Kedestes sublineata) have similar size, colouration and habitats to Chequered Rangers, a species they are often mistaken for.

Pale Ranger

A Pale Ranger (Kedestes callicies) is a small skipper that heads for the shade of low bushes or under trees. They inhabit bushveld.

Single-stitch Ranger

Single-stitch Rangers (Kedestes monostichus) are also known as AWOL Skippers. They inhabit grassy regions, often where cattle farming has had an damaging effect on grass dependant species such as this.

Black-banded Swift

Black-banded Swifts (Pelopedus mathias) fly quickly about open, woody areas or along the edges of forests. They are frequent visits to flower gardens and often settle on low vegetation.

Olive-haired Swift

Apart from their colourings, the Olive-haired Swift ( Borbo borbonica borbonica) has a very elongated forewing. They select a low perch and are attracted to flowers.

Common Hottentot Skipper

Common Hottentot Skippers (Gegenes niso) inhabit grassland, close to forests and savannah habitats. Flower gardens attract this species.

Dark Hottentot Skipper

The darting zig-zagging flight pattern of the Dark Hottentot Skipper (Gegenes pumilio) can often be observed around shrubs, low vegetation and stones, all sites it would select to settle on.

Dusky Skipper

Dusky Skippers (Eretis melania Mabille) are also known as a Dusky Elf. They fly along paths with a characteristic darting motion with their wings spread out, heading for open patches of vegetation. Fringes of forests is a known habitat.

Long-horned Skipper

Long-horned Skippers (Borbo fatuellus) prefer to settle on shrubs or low grass on the edge of bush. This makes them fairly easy to catch. Forests and wetter bushveld regions are favoured habitats.

Paradise Skipper

The common name of the Paradise Skipper (Abantis paradisea) reflects the wonderful colours of this species. They occur in woody areas and bushveld. Tops of koppies and ridges are favoured where they select the end of a twig to perch, only leaving to dart

Spotted Velvet Skipper

Male Spotted Velvet Skippers (Abantis tettensis) can be observed flying around for ages with other species of butterfly on the tops of koppies. They perch on leaves or twigs with their wings held flat.

Zambezi Skipper

Zambezi Skippers (Abantis zambesiaca) inhabit bushveld. Females are scarce and this species is often found at the lower areas of koppies feeding on flowers.

White-cloaked Skipper

Male White-cloaked Skippers (Leucochitonia levubu) establish territories, usually on the tops of koppies at midday and defend their ground against intruders from an established vantage point, usually a low, but prominent perch. This species are attracted

Bushveld Sandman

A Bushveld Sandman (Spialia colotes transvaaliae) is a fast low flier that often settle on shrubs, flowers or on the ground in dry bushveld habitats.

Delagoa Sandman

A Delagoa Sandman (Spialia delagoae) is known to fly close to the ground, usually around short grass, settling on mud or flowers with their wings open or at 45°.

Dwarf Sandman

The Dwarf Sandman (Spialia nanus) flies around singly, usually feeding on flowers. They like to settle on stones or on the ground.

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