Waterfront Butterfly

A quick trip down to the Waterfront on Friday made for some happy children and a leisurely afternoon. We pulled in at the Foodmarket for lunch, and it was while we were sitting outside that fine establishment that we were visited by this individual.

Now, I’m no expert on insects, but I was pretty sure that this was a butterfly. I just didn’t know what sort. A quick visit here:

Butterflies of South Africa’s National Botanical Gardens: an illustrated checklist

led me to believe that it was a Charaxes spp. but I wasn’t sure which one, given that none of them seem to be Cape Town residents. So I went to iSpot, where I described the situation thus:

Lunchtime in Nobel Square, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa.
The boy doesn’t like tomato, and removes it from his otherwise delicious ciabatta.
It’s instantly pounced upon by butterfly, which enjoys the tomato and creamy sauce thereon.
Hung around for around a minute and then flew away.
Tomato left mostly intact.

Because that was pretty much exactly as things happened, and the experts there told me it was likely a female Whitebar Charaxes (Charaxes brutus subsp. natalensis).

…which can be found on Page 61 of that SANBI checklist and which is described therein as:

Pugnacious and aggressive.

Takes one to know one, I guess. It also mentions that it likes to go after red flowers. And tomato is red, so I guess this all fits.

I now know one more species of local butterfly, so I won’t have to ask next time I see one of these.

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