The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Blotched Leopard butterfly

Afrikaans name: Vaalkol-luiperd

Blotched Leopard

Photo © Steven Herbert

Lachnoptera ayresii

The Blotched Leopard butterfly occurs in a broad band up the eastern region of South Africa from Port St. Johns, through the KwaZulu-Natal midlands to Limpopo province and beyond.

They are found in a variety of habitats including forest edges, wetlands, and mountainous areas. It is particularly common in forest regions.

Female Blotched Leopards are slightly larger than males and have a wingspan of up to 5.5 cm. Males have a wingspan of around 5 cm or so. The orange on the upper wings is much brighter on the male than the female. The male has a grey patch on the leading edge of the hindwing while the female has a black spot in its place.

The Blotched Leopard is an active species and normally flies fast. They can be seen flying in the vicinity of tall trees where they may fly at a height of up to 10 metres. Females tend to fly a bit slower than males. Male Blotched Leopards are quite territorial, and they keep a watchful eye on their space from a convenient perch.

They may be seen all year round but the population peaks at the end of summer into autumn. During winter they are not at all common, but individuals may be seen from time to time.

References and further reading

Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa - 1st edition - Author: Steve Woodhall - Published: 2005 - Page: 100

Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa - 2nd edition - Author: Steve Woodhall - Published: 2020 - Page: 104

Ivor Migdolls Field Guide to the Butterflies of Southern Africa - Author: Ivor Migdoll - Published: 1987 - Page: 174

Whats That Butterfly - Author: Steve Woodhall - Published: 2008 - Page: 989

Butterflies of the Kruger National Park - Author: Johan Kloppers and the late Dr. G. Van Son - Published: 1978 - Page: 71

Butterflies of Southern Africa - A field guide - Author: Mark Williams - Published: 1994 - Page: 67


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