Butterflies of Africa
Gaudy Commodore
Precis octavia  CRAMER, 1777
subfamily - NYMPHALINAE
Precis octavia, dry season form, Aburi, Ghana Adrian Hoskins
The genus Precis is closely allied to Junonia and includes several species that were formerly placed within that genus. The 2 genera differ however in genitalia structure and foodplant choice.
There are 20 currently recognised Precis species of which 14 are found exclusively on the African mainland. A further 2 are endemic to Madagascar. The remaining 3 are found in south-east Asia.
Precis octavia is seasonally dimorphic, i.e. it produces 2 different forms according to season. The dry season form is illustrated above. The wet season form had a dark brown ground colour, and is marked with narrow broken bands of blue and red. During the transitional period between the seasons both forms fly together, but intermediate forms are very rare.
The Gaudy Commodore is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Precis octavia, wet season form, Aburi, Ghana Peter Bygate

The true homes of this species are savannah, acacia scrub, and open woodland, but the butterfly has adapted to be able to use a range of additional habitats including secondary forest, arboreta, botanical gardens and wasteland.
The larvae feed on various genera of Lamiaceae including Solenostemon, Plastosema, Rabdosia, Plectranthus, Pycnostachus and Coleus.
Adult behaviour

In common with other Precis ( and Junonia ) species, the butterflies avidly nectar at wild flowers, and can often be seen in abundance in sheltered areas of flowery grassland. They generally keep their wings erect, or half-open while nectaring, but bask with wings fully outspread when sitting on the ground, or on low foliage.



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