Butterflies of Umdoni

Information supplied by Clive D Quickelberge

The following butterflies were recorded from only a limited area, stretching from the Nkumbane River near Sezela up to Kelso and inland to the old South Coast Highway.
As stated, only two species from Park Rynie are included as they are interesting records and being on the periphery would, no doubt, occur well into Pennington as well.
Over a hundred species for such a small area is very good and, as my records were only taken from the last +- three years, I am certain that quite a few more will be added in due course. The whole of Natal boasts approximately 400 species so our Pennington representation is noteworthy i.e. a quarter of the total. A variety of habitats and especially our magnificent Umdoni forest contribute to our rich butterfly fauna.
PLEASE NOTE: The sequential numbering (#) appearing on the following list next to each butterfly is for internal reference only. The official butterfly number, as per Pennington’s Butterflies of Sourthern Africa(1994), appears in parenthesis next to the scientific name.


The Skippers


Scientific Name

Common Name


Borbo fatuellus(Hopffer), 1855(840a) Long-horned Swift.  The common Skipper of the South Coast seen

almost always at flowers


Borbo gemella (Mabille), 1884(848)


Eagris nottoana nottana (Wallengren), 1857 (738a) Rufous-winged Elfin.  Uncommon about bush fringes.


Gegenes hottentota (Latreille), 1824 (853) Marsh Hottentot Skipper. Rare. Only one found floating in a rock pool at Park Rynie


Gegenes niso niso (Linnaeus), 1764 (852a) Common Hottentot Skipper. Common – about open areas.


Metisella metis metis (Linnaeus), 1764 (781a) Gold-spotted Sylph. Uncommon – along forest paths.


Moltena fiara (Butler), 1870 (820) Strelitzia Nightfighter.  Not common, flying at dusk, often near its food-plantStrelitzia Nicolai.


Netrobalane canopus (Trimen), 1864 (752) Buff-tipped Skipper. Scarce.  Found in vicinity of bush/forest.


Pelopidas thrax inconspicua (Bertoloni), 1850 (838a) White-banded Swift. Fairly common in most areas


Tagiades flesus (Fabricius), 1781 (737) Clouded Forester.  Conspicuous along forest edges as its white underside flashes during flight.


Zophopetes dysmephila (Trimen), 1868 (822) Palm-tree Nightfighter. Quite common during dusk, usually near its food-plantPhoenix reclinata.


The Coppers, Blues, Hairstreaks etc.


Anthene kersteni(Gerstaecker), 1871 (519) Kersten’s Hairtail. Rather scarce, frequenting flowers about bush edges at certain times of the year.


Azanus mizra(Plotz), 1880 (654) Mirza Blue. Umcommon with same habits as Anthene kersteni


Cacyreus palemon plaemon (Stoll), 1782 (540a) Geranium Blue. At times fairly common especially in gardens where they frequent and breed on geranium plants. Not a pest.


Cacyreus palemon palemon (Stoll), 1782 (540a) Water Bronze.  Fairly scarce ranging nearly everywhere.


Deudorix (Virachola) antalus(Hopffer), 1855(355) Brown Playboy. Rather common, entering gardens to feed on flowers.


Deudorix (Virachola) dariaves Hewitson, 1877(352) Black-and-Orange Playboy. Rare. One found in Umdoni forest feeding onDeinbollia oblongifolia flowers.


Deudorix(Virachola) diocles Hewitson, 1869(350) Orange-barred Playboy.  Scarce about forests, mostly seen on Deinbolia oblongifolia blossom(April to May)


Eicochrysops Hippocrates(Fabricius), 1793(639) White-tipped Blue. Local. The dark male with its snow-white wing-tips is unique.


Eicochrysops messapus mahallakoaena (Wallengren),


Cupreous Blue.  Local and seasonal in grassy areas.


Euchrysops barkeri(Trimen), 1893(633) Barker’s Smoky Blue.  Fairly common in open grassy areas in association with the flowers of Vigna spp. On which it breeds.


Euchrysops malathana(Boisduval), 1833(634) Common Smoky Blue.  Fairly common with habits similar to Euchrysops barkeri


Euchrysops osiris osiris(Hopffer), 1855(632) Osiris Smoky Blue.  Fairly common with habits similar to Euchrysops barkeri.


Hypolycaena buxtoni buxtoni Hewitson, 1874(338) Buxton’s Hairstreak. This long-tailed attractive butterfly is rather rare today due to human pressures.  Frequents forests.


Hypolycaena philippus philippus(Fabricius),1793(335a) Purple-brown Hairstreak.  Fairly common entering gardens freely.


Iolaus(Argiolaus) silas (Westwood), 1851(318) Southern Sapphire. Scarce about bush/forest feeding on the parasitic plantErianthemum dregei(Loranthus dregei).  Stunningly beautiful species with its silver underside and brilliantly blue upperside.


Lachnocema bibulous(Fabricius), 1793(284) Common Woolly Legs.  A drab little species with unusual carnivorous larvae. Quite common.


Leptomyrina(Gonatomyrina) gorgias gorgias(Stoll),


Common Black-eye.  Not uncommon, entering gardens about rockeries where it breeds on the fleshy leaves of Cotyledon spp.


Leptotes pirithous(Linnaeus), 1767(547) Common Blue.  Plumbago bushes in flower inevitably attract numbers of this small blue where it oviposits.


Pentila tropicalis (Boisduval), 1847(253a) Spotted Buff.  This fairly common slow-flying orange-yellow butterfly is seen in forested tracts.


Spindasis natalensis(Westwood), 1852(364) Natal Bar. This beautifully marked little butterfly is local but is seen most frequently on the stunted bushes along the Park Rynie shore-line. Flies swiftly.
32 Zizeeria knysa(Trimen), 1862(646) Sooty Blue.  Common little blue, often in gardens flying low and settling on tiny flowers on lawns.
33 Zizina antanossa(Mabille), 1877(647)


The Acraeas


Acraea(Acraea) aganice aganice Hewitson, 1852(90a) Wanderer. Not uncommon in forest.  Slow floating flight.


Acraea(Acraea) cerasa cerasa Hewitson, 1861(102a) Tree-top Acraea. Scarce flying high up in forests.


Acraea(Acraea) horta(Linnaeus), 1764(91) Garden Acraea.  A common species in inland forests but scarce along our coast.


Acraea(Acraea) natalica Boisduval, 1847(117a) Natal Acraea.  Seasonally common in wooded areas.


Acraea(Acraea) oncaea Hopoffer, 1855(122) Rooibok Acraea. Not uncommon about open woodland.


Acraea(Actinote) cabira Hopoffer, 1855(112) Yellow-banded Acraea. Seasonally common anywhere.


Acraea(Actinote) encedon encedon(Linnaeus), 1758(115a) White-barred Acraea. Common over a wide range of habitats.


Acraea(Actinote) eponina(Cramer), 1780(110) Small Orange Acraea. A wide-ranging seasonally common species.


Acraea(Actinote) eseberia eseberia Hewitson, 1861(113a) Dusky Acraea.  The commonest of these slow-flying Acraea species.  Mostly about forests.


The Monarchs, Milkweeds


Amarius albimaculata Butler, 1875(6a) Layman Friar. Not uncommon in bush/forest.


Amarius echeria echeria(Stoll), 1790(7a) Chief Friar. Difficult to differentiate from its sibling Amarius albimaculata and with similar habits.


Amarius ochlea ochlea(Boisduval), 1847(5a) Novice Friar. This conspicuous black and white butterfly is fairly common about bush/forest.


Danaus chrysippus aegyptius(Schreber, 1759(1a) African Monarch. A conspicuous, well-known and wide-ranging butterfly breeding on milkweed species.


The Brushfooted Butterflies

Sub-Family: Charaxinae

The Charaxes


Charaxes brutus natalensis Staudinger & Schatz, 1885(148a) White-barred Charaxes. All these large, strong, fast-flying Charaxes species shun flowers and feed on fermenting fruit.  Their beauty makes them attractive to butterfly collectors.  They become commoner towards the end of summer. Frequent well-wooded areas.


Charaxes candiope (Godart), 1824(142a) Green-veined Charaxes. As with Charaxes brutus.


Charaxes cithareon Cithaeron Felder & Felder, 1859(154a) Blue-spotted Charaxes. As with Charaxes brutus.


Charaxes druceanus druceanus Butler, 1869(150a) Silver-barred Charaxes. As with Charaxes brutus. Breeds on Umdoni trees.


Charaxes ethalion ethalion(Boisduval), 1847(164a) Satyr Charaxes. As with Charaxes brutus. The jet-black male is stunning.


Charaxes varanes varanes (Cramer), 1777(140a) Pearl Charaxes. As with Charaxes brutus.


Charaxes zoolina zoolina (Westwood), 1850(155a) Club-tailed Charaxes.  As with Charaxes brutus.



Byblia anvatara acheloia(Wallengren), 1857(212a) Common Joker. Common in certain sunny, dry areas.


Byblia ilithyia, 1773(213) Spotted Joker. Very similar to the previous species. Scarcer on the coastine.


Catacroptera cloanthe cloanthe (Stoll) 1781(225a) Pirate. Scarce in open grassy spots.


Cymothoe coranus coranus Grose-Smith, 1889(179) Coast Glider. Scarce in forest.


Cynthia cardui(Linnaeus), 1758(240) Painted Lady.  A cosmopolitan butterfly. Widespread but not common.


Eurytela dryope angulate Aurivillius, 1898(217a) Golden Piper.  Fairly common in bush/forest.


Eurytela hiarbas angustata Aurivillius, 1894(216a) Pied Piper. Fairly common in bush/forest.


Hypolimnas anthedon wahlbergi(Wallengren, 1857 (221a) Variable Diadem. Not uncommon in forest. Highly mimetic, occurring in two distinct forms


Hypolimnas deceptor(Trimen), 1873(220a) Deceptive Diadem. Rare, only two specimens recorded from the TC Robinson Nature Reserve. A forest species breeding on nettle.


Hypolimnas misippus(Linnaeus), 1764(219) Common Diadem.  Widespread in open habitats. The female is a perfect mimic of the African Monarch.


Junonia hierta cebrene Trimen, 1870(235a) Yellow Pansy. Fairly common seasonally along footpaths and in old cultivated lands. Enters gardens.


Junonia natalica natalica(Felder & Felder), 1860(234a) Brown Pansy. Fairly common at times in open areas and forest fringes.


Junonia oenone oenone(Linnaeus), 1758(236) Blue Pansy. Habitats similar to the Yellow Pansy.


Lachnoptera ayresii Trimen, 1879(244) Blotched Leopard. A fairly common forest species flying swiftly about tree margins.


Neptis laeta Overlaet, 1955(199) Common Sailor. Fairly common forest species with its characteristic sailing flight.


Neptis saclava marpessa Hopffer, 1855(195a) Spotted Sailor. Similar to preceding species in habits.


Precis archesia archesia(Cramer), 1779(231) Garden Commodore. A rather scarce and handsome butterfly entering gardens.


Precis octavia sesamus(Trimen), 1883(226a) Gaudy Commodore. A glamorous species in both summer and winter forms. Having Coleus and Plectranthus plant species in your garden will give them added incentive to live near you as these constitute their food-plants.


Pseudacraea boisduvalli Butler, 1874(190a) Boisduval’s False Acraea. Rather rare. This carmine red butterfly is a truly arresting sight. Occurs in bush/forest.


Pseudacraea eurytus imitator(Trimen), 1873(191a) False Wanderer. Uncommon in forests. A perfect mimic of Acraea aganice(No. 34).


Pseudacraea lucretia tarquinia(Trimen), 1868(192a) Pied False Acraea. Fairly common in forests.


Salamis anacardii nebulosa Trimen, 1881(223a) Clouded Mother-of-Pearl. Scarce forest species.


Salamis parhassus(Drury), 1782(222) Mother-of-Pearl. Can be quite common especially in winter. A very beautiful large species.


Sallya boisduvalli boisduvalli(Wallengren), 1857(209a) Boisduval’s Tree Nymph. A drab dark brown butterfly, its larvae feeding onDuiker-berry(Sapium integerrimum). May swarm during late summer, the larvae defoliating their food-plants.


Sallya natalensis(Boisduval), 1847(210) Natal Tree Nymph. Similar to Sallya boisduvalli in habits.


The Browns

79 Bicyclus safitza(Westwood), 1850(11a) Common Bush Brown. Common in forests where it keeps to the shady interior.
80 Henotesia perapicua(Trimen), 1873(18) Marsh Patroller. More of a sun-loving “brown” fond of wet areas and rank growth.
81 Melantis leda helena(Westwood), 1851(8a) Twilight Brown. An unusual “brown” in appearance and habits. Flies only at dusk, spending the day among the dead leaves of the forest floor.  Commoner during winter months.
82 Paralethe indosa indosa(Trimen), 1879(22c) Forest Brown. Quite rare in our forests only appearing in autumn.


The Swallowtails, Swordtails

83 Graphium(Arisbe) leonidas leonidas Fabricius, 1793


Veined Swordtail. Uncommon in bush/forest.
84 Graphium(Arisbe) morania(Angas), 1849(719) White Lady. Rare in these parts being at the southern end of their distribution.
85 Graphium(Arisbe) policenes policenes(Cramer), 1775


Small Striped Swordtail. Appears early (August) and flies until about December. Extremely rapid flight with the result that people hardly notice them.
86 Papilio(Princeps) dardanus cenea Stoll, 1790(711a) Mocker Swallowtail. A conspicuous forest denizen, the males patrolling along the verges.
87 Papilio(Princeps) demodocous Esper, 1798(715a) Christmas Butterfly. The butterfly that people notice the most as it enters gardens freely.
88 Papilio(Princeps) nireus lyaeus Doubleday, 1845(716a) Green-banded Swallowtail. As with the previous species, it is readily observed due to its size, bright colours and propensity to enter gardens.


The Whites

89 Belenois aurota aurota (Fabricius), 1793(691) Brown-veined White. Extremely common, sometimes migrating in enormous numbers.
90 Belenois creona severina (Stoll), 1781(692a) African Common White. Also very common in bush country.
91 Belenois gidica (Godart), 1819(693) African Veined-White. Common in bush and forest verges.
92 Belenois thysa thysa (Hopffer),1855(689a) False Dotted Border. Not common in and about forests.
93 Catopsilia florella(Fabricius), 1775(659) African Vagrant.  One of the commonest whites occurring far and wide. Breeds on Senna(formerly Cassia).
94 Colias electo electo (Linnaeus), 1763(658a) Lucerne Butterfly. Uncommon along coast but common inland. Breeds on Lucerne and clovers.
95 Colotis euippe omphale(Godart), 1819(682a) Smoky Orange Tip. Quite common on the sea side of stunted coastal bush. Otherwise in the drier bushveld of river valleys.
96 Dixeia pigea(Boisduval) Ant-heap White. Fairly common in bush/forest.
97 Eronia cleodora cleodora Hubner, 1823(665a) Vine-leaf Vagrant. Common in bush/forest.  Has an attractive underside.
98 Eurema(Eurema) brigitta brigitta (Stoll), 1780(661a) Broad-bordered Grass Yellow. Common in open grasslands and vicinity of bush.
99 Eurema(Eurema) desjardinsii marshalli Butler, 1898 (663a) Angled Grass Yellow. Common at times in particular areas especially forest verges.
100 Eurema(Terias) hecabe solifera (Butler), 1875(660a) Common Grass Yellow. Common at times at around bush/forest.
101 Mylothris agathina agathina(Cramer), 1779(707) Common Dotted Border. This slow-flying white is quite common, flying mostly at high elevations.