Butterflies of Africa
Family - PIERIDAE
subfamily - COLIADINAE
© Adrian Hoskins
The Grass Yellows
are all fairly small butterflies, readily recognised by their bright
yellow wings and their habit of gathering in small groups on patches
of damp sand or soil. Despite their name, none of their caterpillars
feed on grasses - the name is derived from the fact that most
species are found in disturbed grassy habitats.
are among the most familiar of tropical butterflies.
There are 70
known species worldwide, of which 36 are found in the Neotropical
region, 13 in North America, 10 in Africa, 25 in the Oriental region
and 10 in Australia / Papua New Guinea. Many are migratory in
the ranges of several such as hecabe
overlap into in 2 or more of the zoogeographical regions.
is found across the entire African continent.
The type location of the nominate subspecies
desjardinsii is Madagascar. Some taxonomists believe that the
mainland and Madagascan taxa should be recognised as a distinct
This species breeds mainly in open or disturbed
habitats including forest edges,
along roadsides, and
on agricultural land.
utilized in the wild
are unknown, but Larsen observed a female ovipositing on
Cassia mimosoides ( Fabaceae ). The
species has been reared successfully on Hypericaceae in captivity.
to imbibe mineralised
from damp ground.
visit herbaceous plants for
nectar, favouring yellow flowers. In dull weather the butterflies
roost underneath the leaves of bushes or tall herbaceous plants.