Butterflies of Africa
Family - PIERIDAE
subfamily - PIERINAE
Tribe - PIERINI
Belenois theora theora,
male, Bobiri, Ghana
© Adrian Hoskins
The genus Belenois comprises of about
30 species, of which 25 occur in the Afrotropical region.
Males of most
species are pure white, with well defined black markings, while
females usually have browner and more suffused markings, on a dull
white or creamy ground colour.
The most widespread
species is aurota which is found across
most of Africa, Arabia and the Indian subcontinent. In Africa it
sometimes swarms in thousands, and can be found in almost any
is distributed from Guinea to Sudan, and south to Uganda, Congo and
This butterfly is strongly
can be found in many habitats
Acacia scrub to primary rainforest. It
is commonest in open forest.
To be completed.
Males are seen in much greater
numbers than females. They commonly settle on paths and forest roads
to imbibe mineralised moisture, often amidst aggregations of
and Appias. Females are more often
observed in flight, when seen visiting flowers, or when ovipositing.
Larsen records that in December 1996
"males were cascading by the thousands down every track and road in
Okomo Nature Sanctuary in Nigeria, with smaller numbers of
Appias sabina. Clouds of butterflies
surrounded every spot where passing pedestrians or animals had
urinated, stopping for a while before continuing their relentless
flight. On the main road through the sanctuary 30-40 passed every
minute from 08.30 to 16.00
hrs during the 6
days I was there ( 15,000-20,000
a day along that one road )".