Lepsoc Africa

Vestal Birdling is a small white moth in the family Geometridae (subfamily Sterrhinae). Like many small Lepidoptera it relies on bird-dropping resemblance to a void predation. The wings are marked with tiny metallic scales, which glitter in the light.

Moth | South Africa

COPYRIGHT Steve Woodhall

Lepsoc Africa

The silver silk cocoons are easy to spot in the tops of the leafless marula trees during winter. The cocoons even have small holes in their sides that resemble parasite infestation, probably as a defence against parasitism. When in flying in the moonlight, the pale spatulate ends of the long tails appear as a strange flickering pulsation which makes it’s flight path disorientating for the observer.

Moth | Africa

COPYRIGHT Raimund Schutte

Lepsoc Africa

This Glider is something to behold – with its richly iridescent orange upperside. Any sunny glade in a Gabonese rainforest may to have 1 or 2 of these chasing each other around at high speed and then perching, wings open, on a leaf in the sunlight. The females are very different but no less spectacular, gliding past you with open wings as big as a plate !

Butterfly | Africa

COPYRIGHT Raimund Schutte

Lepsoc Africa

These calypsos were very common last June in the Mabira Forest of Uganda. Mudpuddling in the power-line clearing was their main occupation, congregating in their hundreds in groups made up exclusively of calypsos.

Butterfly | Africa

COPYRIGHT Raimund Schutte

Lepsoc Africa

Rocksitters are endemic to South Africa; there are four species, of which amakosa is the most widespread with several subspecies. The adults rely on their camouflaged undersides when they sit on lichen covered rocks. They lack mouthparts, cannot feed, and are short-lived. The larvae feed on lichens and take almost a year to fully feed.

Butterfly | South Africa

COPYRIGHT Steve Woodhall

Lepsoc Africa

This Critically Endangered butterfly flies high in the Wolkberg mountains of Limpopo, and is restricted to three small localities. Its larvae feed on rock lichen and are cryptic and exceptionally difficult to find. The adults are bright and colourful but have to wait until the clouds lift to fly.

Butterfly | South Africa

COPYRIGHT Andre Coetzer

Lepsoc Africa

This butterfly is a well-known and widespread species, found from west Africa to Kenya and south to northern Zambia. It prefers secondary forest and is a frequent visitor to damp, muddy places. Cyrestis camillus is the only species within the Cyrestinae subfamily.

Butterfly | Africa

COPYRIGHT Jeremy Dobson

Lepsoc Africa

A relatively common and very striking species, whose underside resembles a dead leaf, this butterfly is widespread throughout tropical Africa. Subspecies rattrayi is found in western Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and north east Tanzania.

Butterfly | Africa

COPYRIGHT Jeremy Dobson

Lepsoc Africa

The Mulanje Tiger Moth (Callioratis grandis), is an extremely localised species known only from Mount Mulanje in Malawi. It feeds solely on the Mulanje Cycad, Encephalartos gratus, and was here raised to full species status and assessed as Critically Endangered using the IUCN criteria.

Moth | Africa

COPYRIGHT Julian Bayliss

Lepsoc Africa

Iolaus aemulus is one of the Epamera subgenus, many of which have gorgeously marked undersides with orange or red stripes on a pearly white ground. Short-barred Sapphires are seldom seen on the wing; the best way to see one is to find a pupa and wait for it to eclose, as I did with this male.

Butterfly | South Africa

COPYRIGHT Steve Woodhall

Lepsoc Africa

Rossouw’s Copper is a rare butterfly inhabiting the high altitude grassland of Mpumalanga, often in gullies with sandy patches. It can be found at Dindela north of Stoffberg. In that habitat it also only frequents one gully on a southern slope amongst the boulders and the Proteas

Butterfly | South Africa

COPYRIGHT Raimund Schutte

Lepsoc Africa

While driving across central Gabon we stopped at an informal rubbish-dump with a strong colony of mosquitoes, but also a fair colony of these amazing butterflies. Their uppersides are drab-brownish and they settle on the ground with wings open, which masks their identity. Closer inspection revealed their astonishing underside colours. 5 days later at the same spot they were gone.

Butterfly | Africa

COPYRIGHT Raimund Schutte

Lepsoc Africa

A widespread inhabitant of the rainforest zone of Africa. Single individuals usually seen perching on leaves or flowers. Male a brilliant greenish-blue above, female dark brown, but large silver spots of underside make it unmistakable.

Butterfly | Africa

COPYRIGHT Brett Wursten

Lepsoc Africa

This lycaenid butterfly is found in south eastern Africa The habitat consists of woodland, coastal forests, grassland and grassy areas in savanna. Both sexes feed from the flowers of herbaceous plants and small flowers. The larvae feed on Lantana camara.

Butterfly | Africa

COPYRIGHT Jeremy Dobson

Lepsoc Africa

Restricted to savanna within the northern and eastern parts of South Africa, extending slightly into Botswana and southern Mozambique. Locally common, the males are avid hill-toppers, arriving at the summit of hills and ridges at about 13h00 and perch on a twig, a metre or two above the ground. The same trees and perches are used year after year.

Butterfly | South Africa

COPYRIGHT Jeremy Dobson

Lepsoc Africa

This magnificent butterfly is found across Central and Eastern Africa. Its habitat consists of forests, including riparian forests and heavy woodland. It is a mimic of day-flying moths, and glides effortlessly across the forest floor.

Butterfly | Africa

COPYRIGHT Bertie Brink

Lepsoc Africa

This nymphalid butterfly is found on Madagascar, Mauritius, Rodrigues, Réunion, the Comoros, and the Seychelles and, where it occurs, is often a common species. The habitat consists of grassland and woodland, frequently in relatively disturbed condition.

Butterfly | Africa

COPYRIGHT Jeremy Dobson

Lepsoc Africa

The Table Mountain Beauty (Aeropetes tulbaghia) has been nominated by LepSoc to become South Africa’s National Butterfly. It is a large and attractive butterfly, widespread throughout South Africa's mountains and endemic to SA and Zimbabwe. It is the only pollinator of many of our wild flowers including the Red Disa (Disa uniflora).

Butterfly | South Africa

COPYRIGHT Steve Woodhall

Lepsoc Africa

Listed as Endangered, and only found in a small area of S-E Gauteng and S-W Mpumalanga. Restricted to grassy areas at about 1 700m altitude, where the larval food-plant, Clutia pulchella and the associated ant, Crematagaster liengmei are present. Has been recorded from most months of the year.

Butterfly | South Africa

COPYRIGHT Jeremy Dobson

Lepsoc Africa

One of our most spectacularly beautiful nocturnal moths, in the family Eutelliidae. It's found all over tropical and subtropical Africa. Although they come to lights, they are also very fond of fermenting fruit and often come to baited butterfly traps left out overnight.

Moth | South Africa

COPYRIGHT Steve Woodhall

Lepsoc Africa

One of several Atlas moths found in Africa, and of two found in South Africa. They are related to the giant Atlas moths of south-east Asia, which are among the world's largest insects. Atlas moths typically have large transparent 'windows' in their wings, and a 'snake's-head' pattern on the forewing tip. This species' larvae feed on Croton and Zizyphus.

Moth | South Africa

COPYRIGHT Steve Woodhall

Lepsoc Africa

Those who are familiar with South Africa’s blue banded Papilio nireus lyaeus will be astonished at the broad blue bands of this Central African swallowtail. It is a common and very powerful flyer, but luckily has a weakness for mud-puddling and lantana flowers.

Butterfly | Africa

COPYRIGHT Raimund Schutte

Lepsoc Africa

This is a large central African rainforest butterfly that likes to perch with open wings in the sunlight, and is not averse to a slow and steady approach – which makes it every photographers dream subject! The brilliant deep blue of the male almost matches that of the celebrated Morphos of Latin America.

Butterfly | Africa

COPYRIGHT Raimund Schutte

Lepsoc Africa

Morant’s Orange is the only representative of this genus found in South Africa. It is widely distributed throughout much of eastern Africa, but seldom common. Its habitat is savanna, including Brachystegia woodland; males are regular hill-toppers. Larval host plants include various Combretum species.

Butterfly | Africa

COPYRIGHT Jeremy Dobson

Lepsoc Africa

Brephos is a genus of diurnal moths in the Erebidae. Festive Red Tiger is one of the most widespread. Their bright colours mark them out as distasteful; if handled they exude a pungent liquid which smells strongly of bacon (some call them 'Bacon Moths’). Handle with caution, as the liquid can blister sensitive skin.

Moth | South Africa

COPYRIGHT Steve Woodhall

Lepsoc Africa

Issoria are represented in Europe and have a closely related genus, Yramea, in South America. Baumann’s Mountain Fritillary flies in high altitude grassland in Rwanda and Burundi; it is fond of flowers. It is a member of the Heliconiinae sub-family.

Butterfly | Africa

COPYRIGHT Jeremy Dobson

Lepsoc Africa

This female Dark Clearwing moth (Sesiidae) Imaged near Pella (W.C.) 28th October 2015. The larvae bore into the stems of various members of the Proteaceae, including Protea, Leucadendron (tolbosse) and possibly Mimetes cucullatus. Adult moths fly low and fast, in and amongst the fynbos vegetation, and were seen nectaring on Serruria fasciflora (Spiderhead - Proeaceae)

Moth | South Africa

COPYRIGHT Jonathan Ball

Lepsoc Africa

Afrotropical Swordtails (Graphium) species were examined and their life histories described in a Metamorphosis article and some relationships were suggested. Graphium leonidas zanzibaricus was reinstated as a valid taxon in the same article.

Butterfly | South Africa

COPYRIGHT Steve Woodhall

Lepsoc Africa

A large, elegant Charaxes found along the moist eastern side of Africa from the Eastern Cape to Tanzania. It's one of three species of the 'blue' Charaxes complex found widely in Africa, to be found in South Africa. Its larvae feed on Baphia racemosa and Chaetacme aristata locally.

Butterfly | South Africa

COPYRIGHT Steve Woodhall

Lepsoc Africa

This butterfly is found throughout most of the Afrotropical Region (including Arabia). There is a separate race (ssp. ramonza) in Madagascar, some of the south-west Seychelles islands and the Comoros. In South Africa, is found from about East London, north-eastwards. An energetic, territorial butterfly which is very common in northern Namibia.

Butterfly | Africa

COPYRIGHT Jonathan Ball


  Welcome

LepSoc Africa - Official website of the Lepidopterists' Society of Africa

Welcome to the Lepidopterists’ Society of Africa (LepSoc Africa), a group of enthusiasts dedicated to the study and conservation of butterflies and moths in the Afrotropical region.

Our Society is a forum for individuals or societies who are interested in this field – we endeavour to publish material, circulate information among our members, participate in relevant conservation and research projects, and to coordinate public awareness of butterflies and moths within Africa.

By joining LepSoc Africa you will be gaining access to the fascinating world of Afrotropical butterflies and moths and to the equally fascinating people associated with them!

Jeremy Dobson

Chairman

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OUR PROJECTS


Lepidops / Lepibase

This software programme allows LepSoc Africa members to upload their collection and observation data into a database, and to use collection curation tools such as specimen labels. Lepibase combines all these records submitted by members and allows Lepidoptera distribution data to be stored and analysed to produce distribution maps.


COREL

The COREL (Custodians Of Rare and Endangered Lepidoptera) programme was initiated by LepSoc Africa in 2011 and aims to secure the survival of our threatened butterfly and moth species. It is funded by the Brenton Blue Trust.


Caterpillar Rearing Group

The Caterpillar Rearing Group (CRG) was launched in 2012 and combines the efforts of both expert lepidopterists and citizen scientists to discover the life histories of all Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) occurring in Africa. If you’ve found a strange caterpillar eating your plants and you want to know what it will become, this is the project for you. You don't have to be a LepSoc Africa member to take part, but if the "rearing bug" bites you will want to meet your fellow rearers and becoming a member is the best way to do this.


LepiMAP

LepiMAP is an African Lepidoptera mapping project. It is run jointly by the Animal Demography Unit of the University of Cape Town (ADU) and the LepSoc Africa. The aim of the project is to determine the distribution and conservation status of butterflies and moths in Africa. It combines the enthusiasm of citizen scientist (photographers) with the expertise of lepidopterists who can identify their pictures. You don't have to be a LepSoc Africa member to participate.


SALCA

SALCA (Southern African Lepidoptera Conservation Assessment) was initiated in 2015 by LepSoc Africa as a response to SANBI's call for experts to contribute to the five year National Biodiversity Assessment (NBA) programme. The project aims to assess the conservation status of southern African butterflies and moths, and is due for completion during 2017. This is a members only project, as it requires a high degree of expertise, and is funded by SANBI.


Karoo BioGaps Project

This project aims to fill biodiversity information gaps, to promote better informed development decision making in the Karoo, in order to conserve important biodiversity assets. The project was launched in 2016, and is funded by SANBI. Experts from thirteen "taxon groups" are contributing, and LepSoc Africa has been contracted to conduct butterfly surveys on 50 sites thoughout the so-called shale gas exploration area of the Karoo. Participants need to be members (permits are required), who are expert at butterfly identification, and the project will run until December 2018.


Butterfly Evolutionary Diversity

The Butterfly Evolutionary Diversity project (BED) is a three-year research enterprise led by SANBI. BED project seeks to map patterns of evolutionary diversity for butterflies across South African landscapes. It aims, through collecting DNA samples of all South African butterfly species, to identify areas not only of high butterfly species richness and conservation concern, but also areas of high evolutionary importance. LepSoc Africa will be the main collecting agency for this project, which will also provide the phlyogenetic analyses to enable us to resolve a number of taxonomic issues.

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 © 2017 | LEPSOC AFRICA | Official Lepidopterists' Society of Africa | www.lepsocafrica.org
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