Fynbos Retreat

Blog: Bountiful butterflies

Published: 10 April 2017
By:Perdita Van Dijk Du Bois

In December last year we got a request from Fanie Rautenbach. He said he wanted to come and visit Fynbos Retreat in search of a rare butterfly that had reportedly been spotted at Witvoets Kloof many years ago.

Fanie arrived armed with a vague description of where the butterfly had last been recorded and a camera.

We pointed him in what we believed to be the right direction and he set off on a butterfly hunt.

After a morning in the veld he came back very excited with the news that he has found what he was looking for and much more. During that short morning he photographed the species he had come for : The Skolly (Thestor) as well as twelve other species.

The Skolly or Thestor is apparently not a particularly attractive species, but is extremely rare and very interesting. It has no proboscis so does not feed on the nectar of flowers like other butterflies at all. During the larva stage they hide away in ant nests and are taken care by the ants.

Fanie was not sure exactly what Thestor he found, but he was sending his photographs to experts for specific identification. Since his visit we have had a few of visits from a number of lepidopterists.

The images Fanie sent us are simply beautiful. He was kind enough to send us the images with names in both English and Afrikaans.

The species he identified and photographed are as follows:

- Almeida copper (Almeida kopervlerkie)
- Common dotted border (Gewone voelentwitjie)
- Dark opal (Bloujuweel opaal). According to Fanie probably the most beautiful butterflies on the farm. It is also quite rare. Only found in the Western Cape. 
- Dull copper (Dowwe kopervlerkie).
- Vivid dotted blue (Fynbos spikkelbloutjie).
- Jitterbug opal (Ritteltit madelief kopervlerkie).
- Rainforest brown (Reenwoud bosbruintjie). This is a small brown butterfly and is often seen in the grass near the swimming dam.
- Thestor (Skollie). The elusive species Fanie came in search of.
- Water geranium bronze (Water malvabloutjie)
- Western hillside brown (Westlike rantbruintjie)

Here are our beautiful butterflies.

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