Pseudaletis leonis: a rare mimetic butterfly in a West African rain forest (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae).

D. F. Owen

Abstract


Pseudaletis leonis is a rare, black and white lycaenid butterfly known only from a few specimens collected in West African rain forests. At one site in Sierra Leone, which had previously been well-investigated, the species suddenly and unexpectedly became quite common. The butterfly is probably a mimic of a black and white day-flying moth, Nyctemera apicalis (Arctiidae), or of the much larger, black and white monarch butterfly, Amauris niavius (Danaidae). However, its rarity defies detailed investigation and its placement in the mimetic assemblage of forest butterflies in the area must be regarded as tentative.

Keywords


Acraea; Acraeinae; Africa; Aletis; Amauris; Arctiidae; Bematistes; Cameroon; Cooksonia; Danaidae; Danaus; defensive behavior; Ethiopian; Geometridae; Hypsidae; Liberia; Liptena; Liptenaria; Mimacraea; mimicry; Noctuoidea; Nyctemera; Pitthea; Pseudaletis; rain forest; rarity; Sierra Leone; Telipna

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