Butterflies of West
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - CHARAXINAE
Tribe - CHARAXINI
Charaxes paphianus falcata,
Bobiri Forest, Ghana
© Peter Bygate
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
Memphis, Prepona and
Agrias; in the Oriental and Australian
regions by Polyura and
Charaxes, and in Africa by
Euxanthe and Palla.
There are 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 habitats.
has a fiery orange-brown upperside, with a black apex. The only
other species with which it can be confused is
pleione, but the latter does not have falcate forewings, and
is more strongly marked on the underside.
Charaxes paphianus is found from Sierra
Leone to Sudan, and south to Angola, Congo, Uganda and western
Kenya. The illustrated subspecies falcata
is restricted to West Africa.
This species is found in good
quality rainforest habitats.
As with other Charaxes species, the egg
is barrel-shaped and carries a series of ridges and keels around the
upper part. The caterpillar feeds on Acacia
( Fabaceae ).
Males are usually encountered singly when
feeding at dung or urine-soaked ground, and can also be seen perching
on the foliage of bushes and saplings along the edge of forest roads.