Butterflies of Africa
Western Dotted Border
Family - PIERIDAE
subfamily - PIERINAE
Tribe - PIERINI
Mylothris poppea, Wli Falls, Ghana
© Adrian Hoskins
Mylothris is confined to the African
continent and includes 51 species, most of which are distributed
across the forest belt from Cameroon to western Kenya.
species share a number of characteristics: They have rounded wings
with a black apex on the upperside forewings.
On the underside, fore and hindwings of most species have a single
row of prominent black marginal spots, hence the butterflies in this
genus are all known as Dotted Borders.
Experiments by Swynnerton have
shown that Mylothris are unpalatable to
birds, and the fact that their colour and pattern is mimicked by
several palatable genera including Belenois,
Appias and Dixeia
suggests that Mylothris are aposematic.
Mylothris poppea is
distributed from Guinea to Togo. An almost identical species
rhodope is found in the same part of
Africa, and also occurs south to Angola, Zambia and western Uganda.
This species is found along logging roads and other semi-open areas
of rainforest, and also occurs in lower numbers in riparian forest
The caterpillars feed
Loranthus ( Loranthaceae ).
Both sexes are attracted to
herbaceous flowers and flowering bushes,
at which they nectar with the wings held half open or fluttering.
Males are also attracted to mineralised moisture around the edges of
puddles on forest tracks, and can be found singly or in small groups,
aggregating with Appias,
Graphium and Eurema
flight is slow and deliberate, and in conjunction with the conspicuous
appearance is indicative of the fact ( supported by experiment ) that
the butterflies are distasteful to avian predators. It is likely that
the toxins within their bodies are derived from the larval foodplants.
Mylothris poppea, Bobiri forest, Ghana
© Adrian Hoskins