Butterflies of Africa
FELDER & FELDER, 1865
Family - PIERIDAE
subfamily - PIERINAE
Tribe - PIERINI
Bobiri forest, Ghana
© Adrian Hoskins
There are about 23-28 species that are currently accepted as members
of Appias, comprising 7-8 species from
the Australian region, 16-20 from the Oriental region, and 6 in
Africa. It is difficult to be precise about numbers as there is
uncertainty regarding the taxonomic status of some species.
At first glance
Appias sabina can be mistaken for
certain Mylothris species, but in
Appias the apex on the forewing is more
acute. In similar Mylothris species,
e.g. poppea and
rhodope, the apex on the underside is white, and has
prominent black marginal spots. In sylvia
the apex is dusted with black and yellow scales, and the black spots
are small and do not extend onto the costa.
Appias are palatable to birds, and are considered to be
Batesian mimics of the noxious Mylothris
Appias sylvia is a
common and widely distributed species found across most of
sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal to Sudan, and south via Cameroon,
Gabon and Congo to Uganda, Malawi and western Kenya ( Kakamega ).
This is a forest species, often seen along logging roads, but is
migratory in behaviour so can turn up in savannah / woodland
habitats, botanical gardens and city parks.
The larvae feed on Phyllanthus,
Drypetes( Euphorbiaceae ), and
Ritchiea ( Capparaceae ).
are commonly seen imbibing moisture from forest roads, typically in
groups of 2 or 3 amidst aggregations of Belenois,