Butterflies of Africa
Family - LYCAENIDAE
Tribe - POLYOMMATINI
© Peter Bygate
The genus Euchrysops comprises of 31
species, all but one of which are Afrotropical in distribution. The
remaining species cnejus is found from
India to the South Pacific and Australia.
very similar to Lepidochrysops but are
smaller and differ in the structure of their genitalia. Their
undersides are distinctively marked with well defined spots, a
series of submarginal chevrons, and an orange crowned black cubital
spot. The uppersides of males are either blue or brown according to
species. In females the blue scaling is usually reduced or absent
but the orange cubital spot tends to be larger. Both sexes have a
dark crescent or chevron at the end of the discal cell of the
forewings, and a similar but smaller and paler mark on the
hindwings. Several species such as osiris
and barkeri are tailed in both sexes,
while others including albistriata,
malathana are tail-less.
Euchrysops malathana is found
throughout sub-Saharan Africa, including Madagascar.
This is primarily a savannah species but is invasive in degraded
forest habitats, farmland, urban parks and oil palm plantations.
The larvae feed on
Sphenostylis and Vigna (
Fabaceae ). They are associated with
Camponotus ants and their pupae are often found within ant
Both sexes nectar at Lamiaceae and other
herbaceous flowering plants. Males commonly imbibe moisture from damp
ground, often aggregating in large numbers.