Layman

Amauris albimaculata

The sedate and elegant Layman inhabits forests, woodlands and savannas, occurring from the Eastern Cape through Kwazulu Natal into the Lowveld of Mpumalanga and Limpopo, and from there as far north as Cameroon and Ethiopia. They fly slow and high, descending only to feed on flowers and alkaloids seeping from damaged and wilted plants. Being a distasteful species, at least three other kinds of butterfly mimic the Layman’s colouration and patterns. Adult Laymans have a wingspan of 5 – 7cm and can be seen on the wing throughout the year. Females lay clusters of 3-40 eggs on the underside of the leaves of a wide variety of food plants.

24 thoughts on “Layman

  1. aj vosse

    I may have said this before… I LOVE butterflies!
    Thanks Dries for feeding my passion!! 😁😁
    PS – Anyone else reading this comment – Dries has contributed an article dedicated to butterflies for an online magazine I’m part of – thanks again Dries!!πŸ‘πŸ‘

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  2. Don Reid

    I did a bit of research on that name, which I have not heard before, starting with Steve Woodhall’s field guide to butterflies – the Amauris genus to which it belongs is represented by 4 species in SA and all four have similarly intriguing common names – Friar, Novice, Layman and Chief. On a hunch I looked up monastic ranks and came upon three of them and presumably Chief is also a rank within a monastery
    The clincher was the butterfly known as the Monk which is of the same Amauris genus but found further north in Africa
    That still does not explain why this genus has monastic names – all I can think is that the black and white colouring has something to do with it

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  3. Valerie Myburgh

    Hi There

    I do hope that you and your family are keeping well during this trying period.

    Kind regards

    Val Myburgh Psalm 91:2 :- I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      We are doing wonderfully well, thanks for caring and sharing the encouraging scripture, Valerie. We also hope that you and your extended family are all coping well?

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      The Afrikaans name, “Ouheks”, is just as intriguing! Sadly none of my sources give any indication where either the Afrikaans or English names come from.

      You must be so excited now that your butterfly book can finally be delivered, Anne?

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  4. BETH

    Who knows why this beauty would be called Layman? Some of that makes no sense to me.
    I just happened to be studying about the Monarch butterfly that makes its way down to Central and South America during migration and found what plants it likes to use on its way.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      So much of fascination where butterflies are concerned, Beth – whether the migration of the monarchs or the naming of the Layman the intrigue is as attractive as the insect itself.

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