Butterflies of Africa
Mabille's Red Glider
Cymothoe mabillei  OVERLAET, 1944
Cymothoe mabillei, Bunso, Ghana Adrian Hoskins
There are 72 described species in the genus Cymothoe, a group of large and magnificent butterflies commonly known as Gliders. The genus is entirely Afrotropical in distribution.
The males vary in colour, ranging from the pure white of caenis, and the deep ochreous yellow and chocolate brown of fumana, to the fabulous and aptly named Blood Red Glider sangaris. There are several "red" species - anitorgis, hartigi, haimodia, coccinata, ogova, excelsa, aramis, mabillei and sangaris. The illustrated species mabillei is hardly less magnificent than sangaris, but the colour is fiery orange-red, as opposed to the blood red of the latter. The female of mabillei is similar to that of most other Cymothoe species, with a whitish ground colour, a dark brown basal area, and a series of large dark submarginal chevrons.
Cymothoe mabillei is a west African species, found from Sierra Leone to Ghana.
This is a rainforest species, found at altitudes between about 100-700m.
The eggs are laid singly on Rinorea ( Violaceae ).
Adult behaviour

On sunny mornings males spend their time high in the tree tops. The canopy walkway at Kakum in Ghana provides great opportunities for observing the gorgeous orange-red males of mabillei and other Cymothoe species, as they glide in wide circles around the topmost branches, pausing now and then to bask on the upper foliage, or to nectar at arboreal flowers.

Later in the day they descend to bask for long periods on leaves a few metres above ground level, usually choosing "sunspots" where a leaf is illuminated by dappled sunlight filtering through the foliage of the upper canopy. They often spend an hour or more on their sunspot, and only move when the changing position of the sun causes their chosen perch to be cast in shadow.



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