De rerum: an acknowlegement and explanation.
INDEX: Linnaean

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Phalanta (phalantha)

The Leopards. I honestly cannot tell the difference between the African Common Leopard (Phalanta phalantha) and the Forest Leopard (P. eurytis.) These may be either.
Usually these butterflies are quite shy, flying off into the nearest tree if  disturbed. Both the top two individuals were taken in our garden in autumn, the first feeding on chrysanths, the second warming itself up amongst the fallen leaves. The bottom one a tattered old specimen taken in the KZN-NBG in winter. I just love the look on its face that says it all: "Acrophobia? If I fall of the twig it's a heck of a long way down there."
They are from the sub-family Heliconiinae, therefore cousins of the Acraea goup. The genus was established by Horsfield 1829, with the type species Papilio phalantha Drury (1773). P. euryta is confined to central and southern Africa, while P. Phalantha, the more common, extends across the Indian Subcontinent to Australia.
The foodplants are mostly from an array of dissimilar bed fellows of the Salicaceae family, including willows, poplars, Trimeria, Dovyalis as well as Rawsonia, and Maytenus.

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