Original Research

The application of life history information to the conservation management of Chrysoritis butterflies (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) in South Africa

R.F. Terblanche, H. van Hamburg
Koedoe | Vol 47, No 1 | a75 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v47i1.75 | © 2004 R.F. Terblanche, H. van Hamburg | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 December 2004 | Published: 18 December 2004

About the author(s)

R.F. Terblanche, University for CHE, Potchefstroom, South Africa
H. van Hamburg, University for CHE, Potchefstroom, South Africa

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Abstract

Due to their intricate life histories and the unique wing patterns and colouring the butterflies of the genus Chrysoritis are of significant conservation and aesthetic value. This
overview probes into practical examples of butterfly life history research applicable to environmental management of this relatively well-known invertebrate group in South Africa. Despite the pioneer work on life histories of Chrysoritis in the past, more should be done to understand the life history of the butterflies in the wild, especially their natural host plants and the behaviour of adults and larvae. A system of voucher specimens of host plants should be introduced in South Africa. Although various host plant species in nature are used by the members of Chrysoritis, including the Chrysoritis chrysaor group, the choice of these in nature by each species is significant for conservation management and in the case of Chrysoritis aureus perhaps even as a specific characteristic.
A revision of the ant genus Crematogaster will benefit the conservation management of Chrysoritis species since some of these ant species may consist of a number of species
with much more restricted distributions than previously thought. Rigorous quantified tudies of population dynamics of Chrysoritis butterflies are absent and the introduction
of such studies will benefit conservation management of these localised butterflies extensively.

Keywords

Chrysoritis; Myrmecophilous; Endemic; Conservation; Life histories; Management; Taxonomy; Ecology; Synecology

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