Butterflies of Africa
Forest Pearl Charaxes
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - CHARAXINAE
Tribe - CHARAXINI
Amedzofe, Likpe Hills, Ghana
© Adrian Hoskins
The Charaxinae are a group of robust, medium to
large Nymphalids characterised by having a rapid and powerful
flight, stout bodies,
falcate apexes, and a habit of feeding at dung and carrion.
They are represented in the neotropics by
genera including Consul,
and Agrias; in the Oriental and
Australian regions by Polyura and
Charaxes, and in Africa by
179 Charaxes species
in the Afrotropical region, one of which -
jasius, extends its range as far north as the Mediterranean
coast of Europe. Most are forest-dwellers but several are adapted to
savannah and arid Acacia thorn scrub
Charaxes species are black on the
upperside, with bands of either white, orange or blue. The bands in
some species are very broad, while in others they are narrow and
broken into a series of small spots. Many
Charaxes species have a pair of thin tails at the tornus of
The upper surface
of the wings of fulvescens are a
shimmering orange colour, darkening to deep brown at the wing edges.
The basal area of the wings is yellowish-white.
Charaxes fulvescens is found throughout
tropical Africa from Senegal to Zambia. The illustrated subspecies
senegala flies from Senegal to Nigeria.
This species inhabits primary and degraded rainforest at altitudes
from sea level to about 800m.
The larval foodplant is Allophylus (
aggregate with other Charaxes species at
mammalian dung, from which they obtain vital salts which are passed to
the females during copulation. Both sexes fly to forested or open
hilltops where courtship and copulation take place, after which they
return to the valleys and plains.
At night, or in overcast or rainy weather
the butterflies roost under tree branches.