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Butterflies of Africa
Volta Ciliate Blue
Cupidesthes lithas  DRUCE, 1890
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - POLYOMMATINAE
Tribe - LYCAENESTHINI
Cupidesthes lithas, Bobiri forest, Ghana Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
The genus Cupidesthes comprises of about 20 species, which are very closely related to Anthene, and share with them the characteristic of having 3 short thin tails on the hindwings. Both genera are known colloquially as Ciliate Blues. Cupidesthes are entirely Afrotropical in distribution.
The male of Cupidesthes lithas is dark brown, with a strong violet sheen across the hindwings and the along the lower edge of the forewings. The female is usually white above, except for the costa, outer margins and apex, all of which are blackish. In a high percentage of some populations the females are entirely brown above, probably due to the periodic resurgence of a recessive gene.
Cupidesthes lithas is found from Sierra Leone to Gabon and Congo.
Habitats
This is a rainforest species found at altitudes between about 100-800m.
Lifecycle
The lifecycle of lithas is unknown. A related species C. arescopa is recorded as laying it's eggs in heaps on Thea ( Theaceae ) in Kenya. The eggs were coated with hairs from the female's anal tuft, and these hairs were eaten by the newly hatched caterpillars.
Adult behaviour
Males are usually seen singly, sitting quietly on a "sunspot" - typically a leaf at the top of a bush, lit by dappled sunlight filtering through the forest canopy. Females are encountered far less commonly but can occasionally be found fluttering around in shady areas of the forest.
 

 

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