Butterflies of Africa
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - ADOLIADINI
© Adrian Hoskins
comprises of a yet to be discerned number of large and very beautiful
forest-dwelling butterflies, all found on the African continent.
In 1997 Hecq
revised the genus and at that time
listed a total of 180 species. This figure is challenged by
other workers who believe that many of these are merely local forms or
subspecies. However in 2012 Hecq
produced a further revision of the eleus
species-group, describing an additional 12 species, bringing the total
in the genus to 192. When working in the field it is immediately
obvious that there are a huge number of specimens that are noticeably
dissimilar to any of the insects
illustrated by Hecq but it is unclear whether these are examples of
intra-specific variation, distinct taxa or hybrids.
share a common wing shape.
have a similar pattern on the upperside - typically the basal areas
of the wings ( particularly the hindwings ) have large
patches of metallic blue, green, orange or red.
species also have a cream or orange sub-apical bar. The undersides
are usually some shade of yellow or green, marked with black spots
and streaks that vary in intensity and configuration according to
taxon and locality. Many species
janetta and sarcoptera
also have beautiful
pink patches or streaks on the underside hindwings.
Euphaedra eleus is
one of several red Euphaedra species
which mimic day-flying Geometrid moths in the genus
Aletis. The latter are noxious, so a
bird that has tasted one is deterred from attacking any similarly
from Sierra Leone to Congo and western
This species inhabits
closed canopy rainforest.
larval foodplants include Deinbollia,
Paullinia and Phialodiscus (
Both sexes tend to fly mainly in
the dark interior of the forest but can occasionally be found on the
ground on forest roads, feeding at fallen fruit.
© Adrian Hoskins