Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - ADOLIADINI
Wli Falls, Ghana © Adrian Hoskins
comprises of a yet to be discerned number of large and very beautiful
forest-dwelling butterflies, all found on the African continent.
revised the genus and at that time listed a total of 180
species. This figure
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
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.
Euphaedra species are renowned for their beauty,
and harpalyce is one of the most beautiful. Both
sexes are similar in appearance, but the females usually have a narrow yellowish
sub-apical band on the forewing. The closely related species
eupalus is identical to
harpalyce on the upper surface.
On the underside harpalyce is bluish-green with a
suffused dark transverse band, while eupalus is
pale olive with a series of white post discal spots.
also several similar butterflies in the genus Bebearia
phantasiella and maladicta,
but in all of
these the outer margin of the forewings is very concave.
Euphaedra harpalyce is distributed from Guinea-Bissau to Uganda and
This species is common in secondary forest
as well as intact rainforest.
larval foodplants include Allophylus,
Paullinia and Phialodiscus,
all in the family Sapindaceae.
Both sexes fly close to the
ground, elegantly weaving their way through the forest
undergrowth. They do not settle as frequently as other
Euphaedra species, but when they do,
it is usually on a large leaf, and in full sunshine. They are attracted to clusters of fallen
fruits, although again not as frequently or in as great abundance
as with other members of the genus.
© Adrian Hoskins