Butterflies of Africa
Light Bush Brown
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
Tribe - SATYRINI
Bicyclus dorothea, Bobiri forest, Ghana
© Adrian Hoskins
Bicyclus is the most numerous of the
Satyrine genera in Africa, comprising of about 85 species, 50 of
which occur in West Africa. The butterflies are collectively known
as Bush Browns, and can be thought of as the sister genus to the
are characterised by having a regular series of submarginal ocelli on
the hindwings, and a pair of ocelli on the forewings, of which the
lower ocellus is always the largest. In most species the ocelli are
very prominent, but in a few species such as
sweadneri they are vestigial, especially in the dry season
morph. Most species have very rounded wings, but again there are a few
exceptions such as zinebi which has a
squarish apex on its forewings, and sambulos
which has a stumpy "tail" on the hindwings.
Bicyclus dorothea is much paler in colour
than the other Bush Browns, and cannot be confused with any other
species. It is one of the commonest forest species in western Africa,
and is found from Sierra Leone to northern Angola.
This species is found in disturbed, degraded forests, where it
breeds along the edges of grassy tracks and roadsides.
The larval foodplants are grasses, of which several species are
probably used by wild populations. In captivity the species has been
reared successfully on Paspalum and
Axonopus ( Poaceae ).
most other butterflies, this species seems to prefer flying in
overcast weather, and often continues to fly during light rain. It
will however also fly in sunshine early or late in the day when
temperatures are lower. Both sexes will visit flowers for nectar, but
are more often seen sitting about on low foliage.