Butterflies of Africa
Clouded Mother of Pearl
Protogoniomorpha anacardii  LINNAEUS, 1758
subfamily - NYMPHALINAE

Protogoniomorpha anacardii  Atewa Hills, Ghana  Peter Bygate

The 4 species which comprise the genus Protogoniomorpha, i.e. cytora, parhassus, anacardii and temora were all formerly included in the genus Salamis. They are entirely African in distribution.
The upper surface of the wings is greenish-white, with a mother-of-pearl sheen. When seen in flight the butterfly is stunningly beautiful, with flashes of pink, purple, yellow and green reflecting back as the angle of the wings changes in relation to the sunlight. The colour and pattern is almost identical to that of parhassus but is decidedly smaller, with a wingspan of about 80mm.
Protogoniomorpha anacardii is found throughout the forested regions of sub-Saharan Africa, from Sierra Leone to South Africa and Madagascar.
Unlike its larger relative parhassus this species is usually found in fairly dry and open forests but it does also occur in open clearings or disturbed areas of rainforest.

The larval foodplants include Asystasia, Isoglossa, Mimulopsis, Paulowilhelmia, Hypoestes, Justicia and Phaulopsis ( Acanthaceae ).

Adult behaviour

The butterflies are usually found singly, or in two's and three's.

Males perch on the lower foliage of trees, or at the top of tall bushes, usually with their wings held slightly apart. They swoop down to intercept and chase other passing butterflies, indulging in a spectacular aerial battle, with their shimmering mother-of-pearl iridescence glinting in the sunshine.

Protogoniomorpha anacardii  Atewa Hills, Ghana  Peter Bygate



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