Butterflies of Africa
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - CHARAXINAE
Tribe - CHARAXINI
Bobiri forest, Ghana
© Adrian Hoskins
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
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.
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 hindwings but these are absent in zelica.
The upperside of zelica has a narrow
band of blue spots running from midway along the costa of the
forewing to the tornus of the hindwing, and a series of white
submarginal spots on the hindwings.
Sierra Leone to Sudan, and south to n.w. Tanzania.
is a rare
mainly in forested habitats although it also occurs in dense savannah.
The larval foodplants
are unknown, and no details of the lifecycle are available.
sexes spend most of their time in the canopy but on rare
occasions males will visit rotting fruit or urine-soaked ground.