Garden butterflies & moths
All sorts of insects abound during and just after the raining season in Dakar, in particular butterflies which all of a sudden become much more conspicuous than during the rest of the year, alongside numerous dragonflies, crickets and grasshoppers, preying mantises, various beetles, antlions and many more.
I don’t know much about either butterflies or moths, but was curious to find out what these two specimens, found in our small garden in recent weeks, are called.
First up is a real neat, pretty large butterfly not dissimilar to Europe’s Common Yellow Swallowtail Papilio machaon. This one doesn’t posses the distinct swallowtail extensions, but it turned out to be a swallowtail nevertheless: Citrus Swallowtail P. demodocus. Apparently also called Christmas Swallowtail (in Southern Africa?) and common throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
Next up, a hawk-moth which very much reminded me of some European species of Hemarus moths with their typical transparent wings. This one is called the Coffee Bean (or Pellucid or Oriental Bee) Hawk-moth Cephonodes hylas. It was found one morning resting on tiles. As I picked it up, it rapidly “fluffed” out its surprising black abdominal tufts while vibrating its wings, then took off.
Wikipedia tells me that it’s found from Africa all the way to Australia and Japan, via the Near East, the Indian Subcontinent and South-East Asia. Pretty impressive for such a tiny creature!
There’s probably many more butterflies and moths to come given that there are plenty of caterpillars at the moment, and last year in November we experienced an impressive contant flow of migrating pieridae, with literally millions of butterflies to be seen all over town (even out at sea!).
By the way I still owe you a few posts – trip to Casamance, last week’s PAOC, exciting seabirds, Hooded Vultures and more – but just need to find time to write it all up…
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The defunct, twin volcanoes of Mamelles, in Dakar’s Ouakam arrondissement, with Cape Verde Shearwaters and Bottle-nosed Dolphins. The rocky coast of Dakar, forming the Cap Vert Important Bird Area, is an outstanding site for seabirds (photo: P. Robinson). Technopole and its numerous waders, herons, gulls, terns and other waterbirds (including Greater Flamingos when conditions are right) is one of the best sites for birds in the greater Dakar region (photos: B. Piot)
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