October 08, 2019

Tom the Maverick (?)

Well it looks like I'm sitting at over 40! maverick identifications at the moment... either I'm a rebel or there's a lot of easily misidentified African butterflies out there.

Anyone care to help?
See: https://www.inaturalist.org/identifications?user_id=cabintom&category=maverick

Posted on October 08, 2019 06:24 by cabintom cabintom | 1 comments | Leave a comment

June 26, 2019

Identification Guide: Eurema of the Terias subgenus

Note that the sex brand is only a feature in males of certain species.

Click on the following to enlarge.

Helpful scientific resources:

Note that the specimens chosen to illustrate these species in Williams 2019 (" Afrotropical Butterflies and Skippers - A Digital Encyclopaedia") are not always accurate.

Posted on June 26, 2019 13:24 by cabintom cabintom | 4 comments | Leave a comment

June 16, 2019

Identification Guide: Byblia anvatara

Posted on June 16, 2019 20:33 by cabintom cabintom | 6 comments | Leave a comment

June 14, 2019

Identification Guide: Zizeeria, Zizina, Zizula, Spot the Difference

(sorry for the pun)

Posted on June 14, 2019 17:04 by cabintom cabintom | 2 comments | Leave a comment

Identification Guide: Easily Confused Spialia in Central Africa

Also note the differences in the HW discal bands.

Posted on June 14, 2019 16:55 by cabintom cabintom | 2 comments | Leave a comment

Identification Guide: The Phalanta of mainland Africa

Posted on June 14, 2019 16:42 by cabintom cabintom | 4 comments | Leave a comment

May 05, 2019

Identification Guide: Hypolimnas misippus / Danaus chrysippus Mimicry Ring

Females of Hypolimnas misippus are excellent mimics of the aposematic Danaus chrysippus, even so far as mimicking the latter's various forms/subspecies. At first glance, it can be quite difficult to differentiate the model from the mimic, but with a bit of close study a number of differences can be noted, many subtle, others more significant.

Key Differences

  1. Dorsal Forewing, white apical markings: In Hypolimnas misippus these tend to be wider and form a continuous band. Furthermore, H. misippus has, at the very apex of the FW, a small but noticeable white patch that is absent in D. chrysippus.
  2. Dorsal Forewing, costa (leading edge): In Hypolimnas misippus the FW costa is heavily black, with black invading the cell for most of it's length down towards the base. In Danaus chrysippus, the costal margin is black, but very little black crosses into the cell.
  3. Dorsal Hindwing, spots: Hypolimnas misippus's hindwing features a single spot located at the costa. Danaus chrysippus's hindwing features 3 spots situated along the end of the cell. In males, a fourth spot (formed of androconial scales) is also present.
  4. Ventral surface, margin: Also visible, sometimes to a lesser extent, on the dorsal surface, there is a marked difference in the marginal pattern between the two species. In D. chrysippus the margin features a single row of spots, while in H. misippus the margin is 2 rows deep.
  5. Ventral Hindwing spots: Unlike on the dorsal surface, Hypolimnas misippus's ventral hindwing features 2 spots, one at the costa, and one at the base of space 5. Danaus chrysippus's pattern of spots remains unchanged.
Posted on May 05, 2019 13:19 by cabintom cabintom | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 20, 2019

Identification Guide: Amauris echeria Group

There are 3 similar Amauris species in Central Africa:

Species Dorsal Ventral
1) Amauris (Amaura) echeria (Stoll, [1790])
2) Amauris (Amaura) albimaculata Butler, 1875
3) Amauris (Amaura) crawshayi Butler, 1897

In order to separate the species a clear view of the ventral surface and head are useful. In the figure below 2 key characteristics are highlighted.
First, on the left, the markings on the palpi (which cover the proboscis).
As can be seen, in A. echeria the palpi are marked by 2 round dots
In A. albimaculata a squarish dot and a long dash
And in A. crawshayi 2 small squarish dots.

Secondly, on the right, the way the yellow area in space 8 of the HW connects with the rest of the discal band (circled in red).
In A. echeria the basal edge of this area meets the cell at a right (or acute) angle and at the origin of vein 7.
In A. albimaculata the yellow area also meets the cell at the origin of vein 7 but forming an obtuse angle.
For A. crawshayi an obtuse angle is also formed but it meets the cell further towards the base of the wing, away from the origin of vein 7.

It is also important to note the general form of the HW submarginal row of spots.

On the left A. echeria, center A. albimaculata, right A. crawshayi.
Notice the much more regular curve the spots in A. albimaculata follow.

Other characteristics to note are:

  • In A. echeria the FW spots are usually off-white, even yellow or dark-yellow. This is especially true in Southern Africa. In A. albimaculata, as it's latin name suggests, these spots are always pure white.
  • A. echeria's FWs are more falcate, giving the apex of the wing more of a point.
  • In general, the edges of the HW discal band in A. albimaculata & A. crawshayi are "fuzzy", while in A. echeria the edge is often sharp and well-defined. (This rule is subject to some variation from insect to insect.)

Posted on April 20, 2019 16:43 by cabintom cabintom | 4 comments | Leave a comment