Butterflies in winter? It may seem absurd, but there are several butterflies that are on the wing the whole year round.
There are several butterflies that occur throughout the Kruger National Park and also many that occur throughout the year. Granted, these butterflies are usually of the more common variety, yet they stay beautiful and continue to invigorate our lives and warm our hearts.
The scarlet tip occurs throughout the Kruger National Park and also throughout the year, but it does so in two forms – the winter form and the summer form. The summer form has more black markings and a grey colouring in the mid-section of the wings, which is much paler in the male during winter.
The female displays a wide variation in her colouring as specimens from the Skukuza area exhibit. They may even have a yellow hue to the whitish parts of the wings. A haggard scarlet tip male being devoured by a mantid, and doing its part to ensure the continuation of the circle of life.
Some butterflies do not even look like the generally accepted description of what a butterfly should look like – pretty and colourful. The striped policeman is one of the jets of the butterfly world. When it flies in a cloud-darkened or forested area it can only be noticed by the white flash on the underside of the hindwing.
It is fast! Fortunately, like most butterflies, they are attracted to flowers where they can be approached cautiously to be photographed. The males and females look alike and it is found everywhere in the Kruger Park.
Some butterflies also do not fall into the generally accepted area of being medium-sized. The common blue has a wingspan of about 30mm, from wingtip to wingtip when the wings are spread. The scientific name Leptotes also means slender. The upperside of the male has a lilac-blue hue, hence the name.
The underside is a delicate cryptic design of intricate patterns in shades of brown on an off-white background. They feed on plumbago and may thus even be attracted to your garden. This butterfly occurs throughout the year, throughout the Kruger Park and indeed throughout South Africa.
This large, handsome butterfly occurs throughout the year and everywhere in the Kruger National Park. It is also named the orange dog or the Christmas swallowtail because of its abundance during that time of the year. It is named the citrus swallowtail for it is a headache for citrus farmers all over, because it uses citrus as one of its more than 10 larval foodplants.
It is common because it has adapted to, and adopted, so many larval foodplants on which the eggs are laid. This butterfly occurs throughout Africa, Madagascar and in the Arabian peninsula. It has a very a similar cousin in Asia and Australia.
By Herbert Otto