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Butterflies of Africa
Common Zebra Blue
Leptotes pirithous  LINNAEUS, 1767
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - POLYOMMATINAE
Tribe - LYCAENESTHINI
Leptotes pirithous, Wli Falls, Ghana / Togo border Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
The genus Leptotes comprises of about 26 species, of which 10 are found in the Neotropical region, one in s.e. Asia, and 15 in the Afrotropical region, including the illustrated species pirithous, which is found also in southern Europe and s.w. Asia.
In Africa Leptotes pirithous is a very common and widely distributed species, and probably occurs in every country, although it has not yet been reported from Mali. It also occurs on Madagascar.
Leptotes species in Africa and Asia are popularly known as Zebra Blues. Leptotes pirithous was on a single occasion in 1938 captured in southern Britain, where it was given a different name - Lang's Short-tailed Blue. The latter name is misleading, as the butterfly is only distantly related to other "Short-tailed Blues", which are members of the genus Cupido ( Everes ).
Habitats
This is primarily a savannah species, but due to it's migratory behaviour it is often seen in other habitats including along logging roads in primary rainforest. It also turns up frequently in gardens, parks, coastal habitats etc.
Lifecycle
The larvae are polyphagous. Foodplants so far recorded include Plumbago, Indigofera, Rynchosia, Vigna, Burkea, Cajanus, Crotalaria, Mundulea, Melilotus, Crataegus, Quercus, Medicago, Trifolium, Arachis, Lythrum, Calluna, Genista, Dorycnium, Onobrychis, Lantana, Pisum, Rhynchosia and Ulex.
Adult behaviour

Males commonly settle to imbibe mineralised moisture from damp ground, sometimes assembling in hundreds during the peak of the dry season. Both sexes frequently visit flowers, Plumbago being a particular favourite as it serves both as an adult nectar source and a major larval foodplant.

Leptotes pirithous, Wli Falls, Ghana / Togo border Adrian Hoskins

 

 

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