Ant-heap White Butterfly

Dixeia pigea

The Ant-heap White is one of those confusing kinds of butterflies where the males and females look quite different, and even differ from season to season in their appearance – in general the males are more white and the females more yellow.

They fly fairly slowly and quite fluttery, and can be seen throughout the year though they may reach extraordinary numbers in late summer and early autumn when they make for quite a spectacle as they chase each other around flowering plants in the full sun.

The larvae feed on the leaves of caperbushes, and the strong association between plants of the genus Maerua and termite-mounds is where this butterfly gets their common name. The eggs are laid in groups on the underside of the leaves of these fodder plants. Fully grown they have a wingspan of about 5cm.

Ant-heap Whites inhabit moist woodland, riverine thickets and forests and are found from the coastal regions of the Eastern Cape, throughout Kwazulu-Natal and into the Lowveld and Escarpment of Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

19 thoughts on “Ant-heap White Butterfly

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      I’m afraid it is the same story here, Anne. Wintery weather and a garden denuded of butterflies. I’m hoping for more of a bounty when we visit Mapungubwe and Marakele next week.

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