Common Blue Butterflies

Leptotes species

We have four-species of Leptotes butterflies that are so similar to each other that they’re impossible to distinguish in the field. Three of these, the Common Zebra Blue (L. pirithous), the Babault’s Blue (L. babaulti) and Short-toothed Blue (L. brevidentatus) are widely distributed over the country, while Jeannel’s Blue (L. jeanneli) occurs only in the Lowveld.

The Common Blues inhabit a wide range of natural vegetation, cultivated fields and gardens all over the country throughout the year. They’re also familiar over most of the rest of Africa, Madagascar, the Near East and southern Europe. Adults often congregate at wet mud and have a wingspan of 2-3cm.

The larvae feeds on Plumbago and plants from the legume family. Adults are on the wing year-round, though much more numerous in the warmer months. Their complete life-cycle spans about 2 months.

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26 thoughts on “Common Blue Butterflies

  1. aj vosse

    Tog te mooi! Dankie vir die skoenlappertjie. 😉
    You make me a tad jealous… all year round! Here we get to see butterflies from April to maybe October… and then the season is often interupted by bad weather! :/

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Groot plesier, AJ! And you’re in for a treat – apart from the 2 species of butterfly we’ve already featured recently there’s three more kinds getting their own special posts in the next month – stay tuned!

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      Reply
  2. naturebackin

    Lovely photos of these sweet little butterflies. How nice that some of them obliged by opening their wings for long enough for you to photograph the beautiful blue! Mostly they seem to prefer to perch with their wings closed, but fortunately the markings on the underside of the wings are beautiful too.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      I was struck by how well the cryptic colouration of the folded wings help them to camouflage, Carol. I could only notice them when they flew, flashing the blue, and then keep an eye open for where they landed.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Actually its the difference between the inside and outside of their wings, Joanne – you only see the beautiful blue when they open their wings, otherwise the cryptically coloured folded wings helps them to camouflaged when sitting.

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  3. perdebytjie

    Dis een afdeling van die natuur wat ek nog nie by uitgekom het nie. Ek hoop jy gaan nog skoenlappers bespreek.Is die blouerigheid net sigbaar as die vlerke oop is, of lyk sommige net blouer as ander, Dries?

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Ek het ook maar eers in die afgelope paar maande vir my n skoenlapperboek of 3 aangeskaf, Dina, en vind dit uiters interessant – Suid Afrika het ook n ryker verskeidenheid skonelappers en motte as wat mens dalk besef. Ons gaan beslis nog skoenlappers hier “feature” met verloop van tyd.

      By die Gewone Ertjiebloutjie sien mens net die blou kleur aan die binnevlerke, glad nie aan die buitekant nie – daar is die streep-patroon deurslaggewend met die identifikasie.

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