Butterflies of Africa
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
Tribe - APHNAEINI
Nechisar NP, Ethiopia
The genus Axiocerses
comprises of 16 species, all Afrotropical in distribution.
All members of the
genus have a tail-like extension on the hindwings. The upperside of
the wings of all species is red or orange. At first glance the
butterflies can be mistaken for Hypomyrina
or Deudorix species, but unlike those,
the underside wings of Axiocerses are
of the cryptic "dead-leaf" type, with small blackish markings on the
forewings, and reddish maculae on the hindwings. They can also be
mistaken for Lipaphnaeus species, but
the latter have two thin tails on each hindwing.
Axiocerses amanga is found from Senegal
to Ethiopia and Sudan, and south to South Africa.
This is a savannah / woodland mosaic species,
which occurs at altitudes between about 100-1500m.
The usual larval
foodplant is Ximenia ( Olacaceae ), but
there are also records of larvae feeding on
Acacia. The caterpillars are attended by
Camponotus ants, which milk them for a
sugary substance which is secreted from the dorsal gland.
As befits a
butterfly with the name Bush Scarlet, this pretty little species is
often seen perching on the foliage of bushes, basking with the
bright red wings held half-open. Both sexes are fond of wild
flowers, particularly the tiny white flowers of
Arba Minch, Ethiopia
© Peter Bruce-Jones