Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - JUNONIINI
dry season form, Aburi, Ghana
© Adrian Hoskins
Precis is closely allied to Junonia and includes several
species that were formerly placed within that genus. The 2
genera differ however in genitalia structure and foodplant
There are 20
currently recognised Precis species
of which 14 are found exclusively on the African mainland. A
further 2 are endemic to Madagascar. The remaining 3 are found
in south-east Asia.
octavia is seasonally dimorphic, i.e. it produces 2 different forms
according to season. The dry season form is illustrated above. The wet season
form had a dark brown ground colour, and is marked with narrow broken bands of
blue and red. During the transitional period between the seasons both forms fly
together, but intermediate forms are very rare.
The Gaudy Commodore is found
throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Precis octavia, wet season form, Aburi, Ghana
© Peter Bygate
The true homes of this species are savannah, acacia scrub, and open woodland,
but the butterfly has adapted to be able to use a range of additional habitats
including secondary forest, arboreta, botanical gardens and wasteland.
The larvae feed on various genera of
In common with other Precis ( and
Junonia ) species, the butterflies
avidly nectar at wild flowers, and can often be seen in abundance
in sheltered areas of flowery grassland. They generally keep their
wings erect, or half-open while nectaring, but bask with wings
fully outspread when sitting on the ground, or on low foliage.