Learn about Butterflies Day – Butterfly Flutterby

I’m sure we all know what a butterfly looks like but if you really get into studying these beauties, it would take a lifetime. With more than 650 butterflies in Southern Africa to keep us entertained, one wonders where to begin?

Let’s begin with one of the largest and most physically robust butterfly families ‘Charaxinae’. They are worthy of emperor status. One of my favourites is the ‘Pearl Charaxes’ who’s egg looks like a little pearl and the adults have a wonderful white spot on their wings.

Pearl Charaxes © Flickr

One of the main reasons why butterflies are so successful is that the youngsters and the adults do not compete for food. If you look at the larvae of all butterflies they are generally associated with a specific host plant. It is a great way to help a novice observer to identify a possible caterpillar. Your above Pearly is generally associated with your Sersias (Karee) trees and shrubs.

Karee (Rhus lancea)

Another wonderful thing about butterflies is their common names from naughty Playboys to strict Policemen to skilful Swordtails. As a guide, I have learnt to always add value to our trees by linking them to a bigger ecological picture. Apricot Playboys to Bushveld Gardenias, Striped Policemen to Red Bushwillows and the Large Striped Swordtail to a Shakamaplum.

Swordtail butterfly © Wikipedia

Butterflies have always been universal symbols of change and I think as guides we must remember to create more situational awareness for these little creatures. Stop at a big Red Bushwillows and encourage guests to take a moment to look for the little 6cm Policeman or the 10cm long Swordtail amongst the many branches, busy laying their eggs or sipping on nectar from the flowers and rotting fruit.

Watch this video, for some fascinating facts about butterflies. We hope that you learnt something new on this ‘Learn about Butterflies Day’.

About the Author:
David Havemann

David Havemann

Explore more

Instructor Richard Davis giving a lecture to several students in nature

Wildlife Conservation with EcoTraining

EcoTraining showcases its commitment to wildlife conservation and environmental preservation by promoting sustainable practices and educating people about protecting endangered species. EcoTraining sets the bar high with its courses, trains field guides, and instils a sense of responsibility towards nature and wildlife.

Read more
a group of students looking at tracks in the sand

Understanding Wildlife Tracking

The ancient art of tracking unveils the secrets of animal behaviour. We explore the key steps of identifying, interpreting, and tracking wild animals in the heart of the South African wilderness.

“Do not be afraid to get dirty. Get down on your knees and have a close look at the tracks. It is essential to take your time. You can make a mistake by being too quick on the trigger when identifying tracks,” said Gerhard Delport, a former EcoTracker student.

Read more
students at lanner gorge

EcoTraining Celebrates 30 Years of Excellence

Thirty years of EcoTraining is a significant milestone. This celebration is a testament to EcoTraining’s long history of promoting field guiding and wildlife conservation. It’s an opportunity to inspire the next generation of passionate individuals who will continue the legacy of creating guardians of the natural world.

Read more

Start your wildlife career

Want to become a field or nature guide? Explore our immersive courses and training programmes for professional safari guides and guardians of nature, taught and led by experts in the industry.

EcoTraining offers career and accredited courses, wildlife enthusiast courses, gap year programmes and customised group travel courses.

Join our nature-loving community.