Butterflies of Africa
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - LIPTENINAE
Tribe - EPITOLINI
Kakum, Ghana ©
The genus Aethiopana
is closely allied to Hewitsonia. It
comprises of just a single species honorius.
In common with
Epitola and several other Liptenid genera, males of
honorius have a dazzling metallic blue
upperside. The wings glint in the sunlight, reflecting so much light
that the butterflies can be spotted from a distance of at least
200m. Females are blackish, with silvery-blue scales at the base of
the wings, and broad white diagonal bars on the forewings.
The underside of
both sexes has an orange area at the base of the hindwing, and
within this area is a group of irregularly positioned black spots,
giving the butterflies a very Acraea-like
appearance. It is likely that insectivorous birds would be fooled
into rejecting Aethiopana as a meal,
thinking them to be an unpalateable Acraea
Aethiopana honorius is distributed from
Senegal to Cameroon, Gabon, Congo and western Uganda.
This butterfly is found in rainforest habitats, along logging roads
and around the edges of large grassy glades or clearings.
The larvae feed on algae growing on the bark of trees.
Males have a large
black oval patch of androconial scales in the discal cell of the
forewing. These scales emit pheromones which are wafted in front of
the females during courtship, and used to entice them into copulation.
Both sexes habitually settle and rest on
tendrils or thin stems, close to the ground. If disturbed they fly up
into the trees, with a rapid twisting flight.