Happy Friday bug fans! It’s time for another journey into insect paradise. This week’s Friday Flyers started out with this idea, “Why don’t we put together a Top Ten list of our favorite butterflies and moths?” We quickly realized that our Top Ten list would have to include several hundred species. So we narrowed it down, and decided to just feature some African species, because we’ve somewhat neglected Africa for a while. All the specimens we are featuring this week were collected personally by a friend in Cameroun. These 10 are far from the only good candidates, but we feel that if you had these 10, you’d be well on your way to a very impressive collection. In addition, there are relatively few American collectors who specialize in African species. Here’s one last interesting note. There are few if any commercial breeding operations in Africa. As a result, virtually all of the specimens you see are collected in the wild. This means that many of the African specimens available to collectors are not perfect. That’s why when you get a perfect specimen, it’s a real treasure. So here we go….
1. Papilio antimachus – The largest “Swallowtail” butterfly in Africa. It doesn’t have any tails, but it is distinctive, and it does not resemble any other butterfly on any other continent.
2. Euxanthe trajanus – A medium sized Nymphalid butterfly with an interesting combination of colors and a bold pattern. We love the combination.
3. Euphaedra controversa – A medium sized Nymphalid butterfly with striking iridescent colors. There are a large variety of Euphaedra butterflies, each having its own combination of iridescent blue, green, orange, and red.
4. Charaxes jasius – Possibly the most beautiful Charaxes butterfly. There are many species of Charaxes, some iridescent blue, some orange, and with a large variety of bold patterns. Most have twin tails on the hind wings, which makes them hard to obtain with all their tails intact.
5. Papilio nireus – A beautiful “Swallowtail” butterfly with iridescent blue bands on its wings. There are several related species that vary in the width of the bands and the hue of the blue.
6. Hypolimnas salmacis – One of the most common Nymphalid butterflies, but a butterfly with a spectacular pattern and a bluish-purple color that is slightly iridescent. Relatively few butterflies have this color.
7. Danaus chrysippus – The “African Monarch” is related to our American Monarch. You can see the similar pattern on its wings. It also undertakes migrations like our American Monarchs do.
8. Eudaemonia trogophylla – An incredible moth from the Saturniid family of moths. It has the highest ratio of wingspan to tail length of any moth or butterfly species, on average 2 ½ : 7 inches!!! There are 3 Eudaemonia species with lots of variation.
9. Dactyloceras lucina – A spectacularly cryptic Saturniid moth with a large wingspan. There are several related Dactyloceras moths, with lucina being the most impressive.
10. Athletes semialba – A fantastic Saturniid moth with a very large wingspan, short tails and a huge eye-spot. There are many Saturniid moths with eye-spots, but none as cryptically marked as semialba.
So this is our attempt at a list of 10 “must haves” from Africa. We could easily put together several more lists of 10, but this list would be a great start for any collection. All of these species are available in our Wonders Of Nature department, and most of their related cousins are too. If you would like to comment on this week’s Friday Flyers, we’d love to hear from you. Let us know if you have a favorite!!!
We hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of Friday Flyers. We love sharing our interest in butterflies and insects with you. Please enjoy the photos we have posted with this week’s edition, and be sure to see all the previous pictures in our Friday Flyers album. Remember to “like” our Wonders Of Nature page, and be sure to pass it along to all your Facebook Friends. We hope you’ll visit our Wonders Of Nature department soon, and we look forward to seeing you.