The Guineo-Congolian forest belt, stretching from Guinea to Uganda, is the second large lung of the planet and Africa’s most biodiverse ecosystem. Within this region, scientists and enthusiasts continue to make remarkable discoveries of previously unknown flora and fauna, particularly in the vast realm of insects. Butterflies, although relatively well-studied compared to other arthropods, are no exception to this rule. Among them, the colorful Euphaedra butterflies, belonging to the Adoliadini tribe in the Limenitidinae subfamily of the Nymphalidae family, are emblematic of the richness of African forests.
With over 200 species found throughout the region, identifying different Euphaedra butterflies can be challenging due to their similarities, but at every locality before 1,500m of altitude, there are easily between 20 and 50 species present. These large and colorful butterflies, always fly close to the forest floor, swiftly navigating their surroundings in search of decaying fruits or other members of their species. Sometimes a single large fruiting emergent tree will have at its base no less than 30 or 40 species of Euphaedra gathered on the fallen fruits.
Here are a few species, photographed in the forests of Odzala.
Euphaedra sp. cf. uniformis
Euphaedra opulenta (mambili)