Common Purple Tip

Colotis ione

The Common , or Bushveld, Purple Tip is another one of our South African butterflies where the males and females look so different that it would be very easy to confuse them for entirely different species – even within each of the sexes there’s a great variation of colour combinations that become more or less pronounced in the dry or wet season, making for a very tricky identification indeed! With a wingspan of around 5cm the Common Purple Tip is one of the larger species of the “tips” butterflies (genus Colotis).

These striking butterflies are on the wing throughout the year and, being a savanna species, in South Africa occur from the southern reaches of Kwazulu-Natal into the Lowveld and Bushveld regions of Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North West Province. They’re also widely distributed through the savanna areas of the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. The larvae feed on the leaves of plants from the Boscia, Maerua and Capparis genuses.

20 thoughts on “Common Purple Tip

  1. naturebackin

    Beautiful captures. I more often see butterflies with orange or yellow tips, not the purple (although not in our garden) – but I had no idea that female purple tips have orange tips! You were fortunate to see mating pairs to help confirm the ID of the female.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Seeing them mate really was a most fortunate boon, else I was more than likely to misidentify the females for another “tip” species. Saying that, I might have to go through my posts about the orange tips again and just make doubly sure about those photos…

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      The “Tip” butterflies can be a really tricky family for identification, Anne – I am really glad that in the case with most of these photos we actually saw them mating just before or after and could differentiate the female Purple Tips from their doppelgangers in that way.

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