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Genus Charaxes: The genus Charaxes is a predominantly Afrotropical genus containing 186 described species with a further eight species recorded from the Oriental region. There are 64 species recorded from Uganda with Semuliki having 41 recorded so far, contributing an impressive 62% of all Ugandan species.

 

The taxonomic groupings used below will follow the phylogeny as proposed by Aduse-Poku et al. (2009) from genetic analysis. This merged the historically typical three genera make-up (Charaxes, Polyura and Euxanthe) of the Charaxini into a monophyletic grouping under the single genus Charaxes. This single genus was then divided into five subgenera which were then split into 24 species groups.

 

The latest systematic revision (Bouyer, 2023) proposes a nine genera grouping. This comprises the genus Charaxes and the reinstatement of the two genera, Euxanthe and Polyura (merged by Aduse-Poku et al., 2009), revising a further three genera (Zingha, Eriboea, Viridixes) and creating three new genera (Ydeali, Laodice and Setechin). The Euxanthe genus is split into two subgenera and a further 26 species groups are detailed for the remaining eight genera.

The Metamorphosis publication 'The butterflies (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidia) of Semuliki National Park, western Uganda', Forbes (2018) lists Charaxes smaragdalis ssp. as caerulea - this should be amended to leopoldi

Museum Images: Males in the left column.

Subgenus Charaxes. There are 10 Afrotropical species-groups within this subgenus.

species group JasiusThere are five species recorded at Semuliki within this group: C. epijasius, C. brutus, C. pollux, C. eudoxus and C. castor. C. epijasus was sampled only once when traps were located in the grassland patch. C. brutus was also rare and trapped only once. C. eudoxus was recorded from a specimen from The National Museum of Scotland (entomology collections) but was never live trapped at Semuliki. C. pollux was frequently sampled in the nets but never in abundant numbers. C. castor was never trapped but was sampled by Davenport (1996).

Charaxes epijasius.jpeg

Charaxes epijasius 

Charaxes eudoxus.jpeg
Charaxes brutus.jpeg

Charaxes brutus

Charaxes pollux.jpeg

Charaxes pollux

Charaxes castor.jpeg

Charaxes eudoxus

Charaxes castor

species group HadrianusThere are two species within this group and one has been recorded at Semuliki: C. hadrianus. Only one specimen was ever recorded in the fruit-traps and then only recorded 200 m from the main sampling transect within the forest interior.

Charaxes  hadrianus.jpeg

Charaxes hadrianus

species group ZinghaThere is only one species within this group: C. zingha. Only one specimen was ever recorded in the fruit-traps and this was captured at the forest margins.

Charaxes zingha.jpeg

Charaxes zingha

species group TiridatesThere are 20 species within this group and seven have so far been recorded at Semuliki: C. numenes, C. tiridates, C. bipunctatus, C. smaragdalis, C. imperialis, C. ameliae and C. pythodoris. The relatively common species sampled in the traps are C. numenes, C. tiridates, C. ameliae and C. imperialis. The other 3 species: C. bipunctatus, C. smaragdalis and C. pythodoris were trapped only once.

Charaxes smaragdalis.jpeg

Charaxes smaragdalis

Charaxes  numenes.jpeg

Charaxes numenes

Charaxes  pythodorus.jpeg

Charaxes pythodorus

Charaxes  tiridates.jpeg

Charaxes tiridates

Charaxes bipunctatus.jpeg

Charaxes bipunctatus

Charaxes imperialis.jpeg

Charaxes imperialis

Charaxes ameliae.jpeg

Charaxes ameliae

species group CandiopeThere is only one of this species-group recorded at Semuliki: C. candiope. Only one specimen was ever recorded in the fruit-traps.

Charaxes candiope.jpeg

Charaxes candiope

species group VaranesThree species have so far been recorded from Semuliki: acuminatus, varanes and fulvescens. Only fulvescens could be described as common while acuminatus and varanes were rarely trapped or observed.

Charaxes varanes.jpeg

Charaxes varanes

Charaxes fulvescens.jpeg

Charaxes fulvescens

Charaxes acuminatus.jpeg

Charaxes acuminatus

species group CynthiaTwo of the seven species within this species-group have so far been recorded from Semuliki: cynthia and protoclea. Only cynthia could be described as common while protoclea was only trapped once.

Charaxes cynthia.jpeg

Charaxes cynthia

Charaxes protoclea.jpeg

Charaxes protoclea

species group Lucretius. Only one of the four species described in this group has been recorded at Semuliki: C. lucretius. This was a rare species and only one male was trapped.

Charaxes lucretius.jpeg

Charaxes lucretius

Subgenus Euxanthe. There are two species-groups within this subgenus: Euxanthe and Lycurgus.

species group EuxantheThere are three species recorded at Semuliki from the six species described within this group: C. eurinome, C. crossleyi and C. trajanus. These three species were net sampled and not found within the fruit traps. Each of these species were predominantly sampled along the forest margins within a less dense understorey than the forest interior. 

Charaxes crossleyi.jpeg

Charaxes crossleyi

Charaxes eurinome.jpeg

Charaxes eurinome

Charaxes trajanus.jpeg

Charaxes trajanus

species group LycurgusThere are two recorded species from this group: C. lycurgus and C. zelica. Only one was trapped within my sampling periods while C. zelica was identified from a specimen from The National Museum of Scotland (collections department).

Charaxes lycurgus.jpeg
Charaxes zelica.jpeg

Charaxes lycurgus

Charaxes zelica

Subgenus Polyura. There are two Afrotropical species-groups within this subgenus.

species group PleioneThere are only two species recorded at Semuliki within this group: C. paphianus and C. pleione. Both species were uncommon and trapped within the forest margins. 

Charaxes paphianus.jpeg

Charaxes paphianus

Charaxes pleione.jpeg

Charaxes pleione

species group ZoolinaThere is only one species recorded at Semuliki within this group: C. khaldeni. This was trapped by Tim Davenport in his census of 1996 and the collected specimens provided to Makerere University in Kampala. The species was never observed during my sampling periods.

Charaxes khaldeni.jpeg

Charaxes kahldeni

Subgenus Eriboea. There are six Afrotropical species-groups within this subgenus.

species group EupaleThere are only two species recorded at Semuliki within this group: C. eupale and C. minor. Only C. eupale was trapped during my sampling periods along the forest margins. 

Charaxes eupale.jpeg

Charaxes eupale

Charaxes minor.jpeg

Charaxes minor

Charaxes etesipe.jpeg

Charaxes etesipe

species group AnticleaOf the six species described within this clade only one is found at Semuliki: C. anticlea. Again a rare species which was only trapped once along the forest margins.

Charaxes anticlea.jpeg

Charaxes anticlea

species group HildebrandtiOnly one species is recognised in this group: C. hildebrandti which is split into three subspecies of which a specimen of C. hildebrandti katagensis has been labelled within the National Museum of Scotland Collections Dept. This looks like an identification error with the subspecies more likely the nominate subspecies which has been located in both the Central Forest Block and the Ituri Forest of the DRC (Ducarme, 2018).

Charaxes hildebrandti.jpeg

Charaxes hildebrandti

species group Etheocles. This group includes the 'black charaxes'  of which there are six species recorded at Semuliki: C. virilis, C. viola, C. catachrous, C. etheocles, C. baumanni and C. cedreatis. The males are characteristically very difficult to differentiate and so the evidence of a species presence is often with an identification of the female. The female (which can have many forms) will be displayed along with a male, based on descriptions from 'The Charaxinae Butterflies of Africa' by Stephen Henning.

Charaxes viola.jpeg
Charaxes etheocles.jpeg
Charaxes catachrous.jpeg

Charaxes viola

Charaxes etheocles

Charaxes catachrous

Charaxes cedreatis.jpeg

Charaxes cedreatis

Charaxes virilis.jpeg

Charaxes baumanni (waiting on museum image) 

Charaxes virilis

Subgenus new. A new subgenus to incorporate only one species, Charaxes nichetes.

Species group Nichetes. C. nichetes was identified from the National Museum of Scotland, entomology collections department as being recorded from Semuliki.

Charaxes nichetes.jpg

Charaxes nichetes (Images by Gilles Faravel)

Field Images: There are field images for the majority of species recorded. Some were recorded from the 1996 park survey of Semuliki and not trapped during my sampling periods. Also unfortunately an sd card full of images was corrupted. Fortunately, the Charaxes species that had no complementary field image had been identified prior to the sd card being corrupted, of the ones trapped by myself. The species with no field image will be the focus of further field trips to Semuliki.

Charaxes epijasius.jpeg
Charaxes epijasius.jpeg

Charaxes epijasius (upper and underside, sexes similar) 

Charaxes brutus.jpeg
Charaxes brutus.jpeg

Charaxes brutus (upper and underside, sexes similar) 

Charaxes pollux.jpeg
Charaxes pollux.jpeg

Charaxes pollux (upper and underside, sexes similar) 

Charaxes hadrianus.jpeg
Charaxes hadrianus.jpeg

Charaxes hadrianus (upper and underside, sexes similar) 

Charaxes zingha.jpeg
Charaxes zingha.jpeg

Charaxes zingha (male, upper and underside) 

Charaxes zingha.jpeg

Charaxes zingha (female, upperside) 

Charaxes zingha.jpeg

Charaxes zingha (female, underside) 

Charaxes smaragdalis.jpeg
Charaxes smaragdalis.jpeg

Charaxes smaragdalis (female, upper and underside) 

Cymothoe pythodorus.jpeg
Cymothoe pythodorus.jpeg

Charaxes pythodorus (male, upper and underside) 

Charaxes pythodorus.jpeg

Charaxes pythodorus (female, upperside) 

Charaxes pythodorus.jpeg

Charaxes pythodorus (female, underside) 

Charaxes bipunctatus.jpeg
Charaxes bipunctatus.jpeg

Charaxes bipunctatus (male, upper and underside) 

Charaxes numenes.jpeg
Charaxes numenes.jpeg

Charaxes numenes (male, upper and underside) 

Charaxes numenes.jpeg

Charaxes numenes (female, upperside) 

Charaxes numenes.jpeg

Charaxes numenes (female, underside) 

Charaxes tiridates.jpeg
Charaxes tiridates.jpeg

Charaxes tiridates (male, upper and underside) 

Charaxes imperialis.jpeg
Charaxes imperialis.jpeg

Charaxes imperialis (male, upper and underside) 

Charaxes tiridates.jpeg
Charaxes tiridates.jpeg

Charaxes tiridates (female, upper and underside) 

Charaxes imperialis.jpeg
Charaxes imperialis.jpeg

Charaxes imperialis (female, upper and underside) 

Charaxes ameliae.jpeg
Charaxes ameliae.jpeg

Charaxes ameliae (male, upper and underside) 

Charaxes ameliae.jpeg
Charaxes ameliae.jpeg

Charaxes ameliae (female, upperside) 

Charaxes ameliae (female, underside) 

Charaxes candiope.jpeg
Charaxes candiope.jpeg

Charaxes candiope (female upper and underside, sexes similar) 

Charaxes varanes.jpeg
Charaxes varanes.jpeg

Charaxes varanes (male upper and underside, sexes similar) 

Charaxes fulvescens.jpeg
Charaxes fulvescens.jpeg

Charaxes fulvescens (male upper and underside, sexes similar) 

Charaxes cynthia.jpeg
Charaxes cynthia.jpeg

Charaxes cynthia (male, upper and underside ) 

Charaxes cynthia.jpeg

Charaxes cynthia (female, upperside) 

Charaxes cynthia.jpeg

Charaxes cynthia (female, underside) 

Charaxes protoclea.jpeg
Charaxes protoclea.jpeg

Charaxes protoclea (female, upper and underside) 

Charaxes lucretius.jpeg
Charaxes lucretius.jpeg

Charaxes lucretius (male, upper and underside) 

Charaxes eurinome.jpeg
Charaxes eurinome.jpeg

Charaxes eurinome (male, upper and underside) 

Charaxes crossleyi.jpeg
Charaxes crossleyi.jpeg

Charaxes crossleyi (male upper and underside, sexes similar) 

Charaxes crossleyi.jpeg

Charaxes crossleyi (male upper and underside, pattern variation) 

Charaxes crossleyi.jpeg

Charaxes crossleyi (male upper and underside, pattern variation) 

Charaxes trajanus.jpeg
Charaxes trajanus.jpeg

Charaxes trajanus (female, upper and underside) 

Charaxes lycurgus.jpeg
Charaxes lycurgus.jpeg

Charaxes lycurgus (male, upper and underside) 

Charaxes lycurgus.jpeg

Charaxes lycurgus (female, upperside) 

Charaxes lycurgus.jpeg

Charaxes lycurgus (female, underside) 

Charaxes paphianus.jpeg
Charaxes paphianus.jpeg

Charaxes paphianus (male, upper and underside) 

Charaxes pleione.jpeg
Charaxes pleione.jpeg

Charaxes pleione (male, upper and underside) 

Charaxes pleione.jpg

Charaxes pleione (female, upperside) 

Image by Thijs Valkenburg (original posted on inaturalist)

C eupale (3)A1-ink.jpeg
C eupale (2)A-ink.jpeg

Charaxes eupale (upper and underside, sexes similar) 

Charaxes minor.jpeg
Charaxes minor.jpeg

Charaxes minor (male undersides, sexes similar) 

Charaxes anticlea.jpeg
Charaxes anticlea.jpeg

Charaxes anticlea (female, upper and underside) 

Charaxes viola.jpeg
Charaxes viola.jpeg

Charaxes viola (male, upper and underside) 

Charaxes viola.jpeg
Charaxes viola.jpeg

Charaxes viola (female, upper and underside) 

Charaxes etheocles.jpeg
Charaxes etheocles.jpeg

Charaxes etheocles carpenteri f. carpenteri (female, upper and underside) 

Charaxes etheocles.jpeg

Charaxes etheocles carpenteri f. pallidimacula (female, upperside)

Charaxes catachrous.jpeg
Charaxes catachrous.jpeg

Charaxes catachrous (male, upper and underside) 

Charaxes catachrous.jpeg

Charaxes catachrous (female, upperside) 

Charaxes catachrous.jpeg

Charaxes catachrous (female, underside) 

Charaxes cedreatis.jpeg
Charaxes cedreatis.jpeg

Charaxes cedreatis (male, upper and underside) 

Charaxes baumanni.jpeg
Charaxes baumanni.jpeg

Charaxes baumanni (male, upper and underside) 

Waiting on field images for the following species: Charaxes eudoxus, C. virilis, C. castor, C. nichetes, C. hildebrandti, C. acuminatus, C. etesipe, C. zelica
and C. kahldeni

Thanks are due to Mr Jean-Pierre Lequeux in Kampala for overseeing the accuracy of this page. Jean-Pierre's is an authority on the Family Papilionidae and Subfamily Charaxinae and his experience and expertise of Ugandan species making up these two groups is unbeatable.

Specific genus site links, references and bibliography:

Aduse-Poku, K., et al., (2009), Out-of-Africa again: A phylogenetic hypothesis of the genus Charaxes (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) based on five gene regions. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 53(2): 463–478.

Bouyer, T., (2023). The genera of the tribe Charaxini (Papilionoidea, Nymphalidae, Charaxinae). Metamorphosis 34: 59–78.

Henning, S. F., (1988). The Charaxinae Butterflies of Africa, Aloe Books, Johannesburg.

Nymphalidae.Net provides a detailed taxonomic overview of the Tribe Charaxini. Tribe Charaxini (Wahlberg, N).

Savela, M. Charaxes Ochsenheimer [1816]. Lepidoptera and Some Other Life Forms. Excellent online resource.

The publications listed below (Butterflies of the World) are available from www.insecta.de and www.goeckeevers.de.

 

Turlin, B., (2005). Butterflies of the World. Part 22, Nymphalidae 10. (Text Supplement 10), Bauer and Frankenbach, Keltern.

Turlin, B., (2007). Butterflies of the World. Part 32, Nymphalidae 12. (Text Supplement 12), Bauer andFrankenbach, Keltern.

Turlin, B., (2007). Butterflies of the World. Part 28, Nymphalidae 14. (Text Supplement 14), Bauer andFrankenbach, Keltern.

Turlin, B., (2009). Butterflies of the World. Part 32, Nymphalidae 17. (Text Supplement 17), Bauer andFrankenbach, Keltern.


Turlin, B., (2011). Butterflies of the World. Part 34, Nymphalidae 19. (Text Supplement 19), Bauer and Frankenbach, Keltern.

Turlin, B., (2013). Butterflies of the World. Part 38, Nymphalidae 22. (Text Supplement 21), Bauer andFrankenbach, Keltern.

Turlin, B., (2014). Palla and Euxanthe.. Butterflies of the World, Part 40, Nymphalidae 24. (Text Supplement 23), Bauer and Frankenbach, Keltern.

Williams, M.C., (2020). Genus Charaxes. A section of Afrotropical Butterflies (17th Edition). Publication is available from Lepidopterists' Society of Africa website https://www.lepsocafrica.org/?p=publications&s=atb.

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