Butterflies of Africa
Common Bush Blue
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - LYCAENINAE
Tribe - LYCAENINI
There are 10 species in
the genus Cacyreus, all of which are
entirely African in distribution. One of these -
marshalli, was accidentally introduced to Europe from South
Africa in 1990, and has since become a serious pest of
Geranium in Spain and France.
be split into 2 distinct groups, each with differing underside
patterns. In West Africa there are 3 species -
lingeus, audeoudi and
virilis. They can be distinguished by the
innermost dark triangular mark on the costa of the underside hindwing.
In lingeus the spot is triangular and
points downwards. In virilis it is
incurved towards the lower thorax, and in
audeoudi it is curved outwards and almost meets the tip of the
outer dark spot. The uppersides of the males of all three are brown
with a metallic violet sheen that is paler and brighter in
audeoudi than in the other species.
Females of all three are earthy brown with suffused white streaks and
a pale violet metallic sheen over the basal area of both wings.
is a very widespread and common species which occurs throughout Africa
with the exception of desert areas.
species occurs in degraded rainforest, open dry forest, acacia scrub,
arboreta, gardens, parks and along roadsides. It is found primarily in
lowland areas, but also occurs in hill forests and on the lower slopes
of mountains and river valleys.
The larval foodplants
( Lamiaceae ); and
Geranium and Pelargonium (
Geraniaceae ). The larvae are pale green and feed either on the leaves
or within the stems of the foodplants.
Normally several adults can be found
together, nectaring at clumps of flowers in sunny but damp situations
e.g. along roadside ditches or by streams that run through forest
glades. Both sexes visit flowers, but males additionally can be found
imbibing mineralised moisture from the ground.