Butterflies of Africa
Funereal Bush Brown
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
Tribe - SATYRINI
Bicyclus funebris, 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
Bicyclus 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 funebris is found from Gambia
and Senegal to Cameroon, and south to Zambia, Uganda and western
This species is essentially a forest insect, preferring the drier
and more open woodlands. It also occurs in dense thickets in
savannah country, and in riparian forest.
The larval foodplants include Setaria,
Imperata and various other grasses.
butterflies fly mainly on sunny mornings, in clearings, glades and
along logging roads. They have a slow lazy floppy flight, and settle
frequently to rest on low herbage, often in the shade.