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Butterflies of Africa
Shining Red Charaxes
Charaxes zingha  STOLL, 1780
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - CHARAXINAE
Tribe - CHARAXINI
Charaxes zingha, Bunso, Ghana Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
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, Memphis, Prepona and Agrias; in the Oriental and Australian regions by Polyura and Charaxes, and in Africa by Charaxes, 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.
Most 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.
Charaxes zingha is found from Senegal to Angola, Congo and Uganda.

Charaxes zingha, Bunso, Ghana Adrian Hoskins

Habitats
This is primarily a rainforest species, but is also known from certain coastal scrubland habitats.
Lifecycle
The larval foodplant is Hugonia ( Linaceae ).
Adult behaviour

This magnificent species is usually seen singly late in the morning, when the butterflies migrate to forested hilltops. They circle around the treetops, and are a fabulous sight, with the sunlight glinting from their fiery orange-red uppersides.

The males perch on foliage, usually several metres above the ground, and dash out to investigate any large fast flying butterfly. If the latter turns out to be a different species to their own it is ignored and the zingha then returns to it's original perch. If the intercepted butterfly turns out to be another zingha male, a fight breaks out, with the butterflies chasing and charging at each other until one or the other gives up and leaves the vicinity.

Charaxes zingha, Bunso, Ghana Adrian Hoskins

 

 

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