Butterflies of Africa
VAN DER HOVEN, 1845
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - ADOLIADINI
Bobiri forest, Ghana
© Adrian Hoskins
comprises of a yet to be discerned number of large and very
beautiful forest-dwelling butterflies, all found on the African
In 1997 Hecq
revised the genus and at that time
listed a total of 180 species. This figure is challenged by
other workers who believe that many of these are merely local forms
or subspecies. However in 2012 Hecq
produced a further revision of the eleus
species-group, describing an additional 12 species, bringing the
total in the genus to 192. When working in the field it is
immediately obvious that there are a huge number of specimens that
are noticeably dissimilar to any of the insects
illustrated by Hecq, but it is unclear whether these are examples of
intra-specific variation, distinct taxa or hybrids.
share a common wing shape.
have a similar pattern on the upperside - typically the basal areas
of the wings ( particularly the hindwings ) have large
patches of metallic blue, green, orange or red.
species also have a cream or orange sub-apical bar. The undersides
are usually some shade of yellow or green, marked with black spots
and streaks that vary in intensity and configuration according to
taxon and locality. Many species also have beautiful pink patches or
streaks on the underside hindwings.
The wing pattern of edwardsi is unique
- the only other species with which it could be confused is
ferruginea which is endemic to eastern
Nigeria and Cameroon, and lacks the black spots in the discal cells
of the hindwings.
Euphaedra edwardsi is distributed from
Sierra Leone to Uganda and eastern Congo.
© Adrian Hoskins
This species is a forest butterfly found at altitudes between sea
level and about
1200m. It seems to prefer the drier and more open secondary forests,
and can also be found in arboreta, botanical gardens and similar
The caterpillars are green, and adorned with an array of
multi-branched lateral spines which are appressed to the leaf on
which they are resting. They feed on
Lecaniodiscus ( Sapindaceae ).
sexes are strongly attracted to clusters of fallen fruits,
particularly Ficus, and patrol back and
forth along forest paths in search of them. It is not unusual for
groups of up to 30 Euphaedra and
Bebearia butterflies of various species
to aggregate at such feeding sites.
Euphaedra edwardsi is usually seen singly
or in two's and three's. The butterflies patrol back and forth along
short stretches of forest path or logging road, periodically settling
forest, Ghana ©