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Butterflies of Africa
Western Pierid Blue
Larinopoda eurema  PLÖTZ, 1880
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - LIPTENINAE
Tribe - LIPTENINI
Larinopoda eurema, Bobiri, Ghana © Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
The genus Larinopoda comprises of 7 species, all of which are white, with dark borders, and have one or more dark spots on the hindwings. All species have golden yellow legs, and the distinctive thin, upturned labial palpi that are typical of the subfamily Lipteninae.
Larinopoda eurema is found in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire and western Ghana.
Larinopoda eurema, Bobiri, Ghana © Adrian Hoskins
Habitats
This is a rainforest species, commonly found along logging roads and trails in the darker parts of the forest.
Lifecycle

The lifecycle is unknown, but in common with other Lipteninae the larvae probably feed on algae or microscopic fungi growing on tree trunks, and are likely to have a symbiotic relationship with ants.

Larinopoda eurema, Bobiri, Ghana © Adrian Hoskins
Adult behaviour

This species is most commonly encountered on cloudy days, or at dawn and dusk when light levels are low. At such times clusters of between 2-6 adults can be found sitting together on thin dry twigs, usually less than a metre above ground level. If ants are present the butterflies react by inverting their wings so that they meet below the legs. After holding this position for 2 or 3 seconds they are folded back to the normal erect position. This activity is repeated continually until such time as the ants move away. It appears to be either a defensive display or a process during which pheromones are released which appease the ants.

Larinopoda eurema, Bunso, Ghana © Adrian Hoskins

 

 

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