Life history of the threatened Karkloof blue butterfly, Orachrysops ariadne (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae)

  • Published source details Lu S. & Samways M. (2001) Life history of the threatened Karkloof blue butterfly, Orachrysops ariadne (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). African Entomology, 9, 137-151.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Rear declining species in captivity

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Rear declining species in captivity

    A study in 1999 in a captive setting in the KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa (Lu & Samways 2001) reported that 93% of wild-caught Karkloof blue butterfly Orachrysops ariadne eggs hatched and survived for up to three months in the presence of their host plant Indigofera woodii Bolus var. laxa, but none of the caterpillars survived to adulthood. Of 30 Karkloof blue butterfly eggs collected from the wild, 28 successfully hatched. Of the 18 resulting caterpillars that were kept in the laboratory, all were recorded feeding on the host plant and survived for up to three months, moulting two or three times, before dying from an unidentified fungal infection. In May–June 1999, 30 eggs were collected from three grassland reserves in the KwaZulu-Natal province and taken into captivity. Upon hatching each caterpillar was placed in a small container with fresh Indigofera shoots that were replaced every 1–2 days. Eighteen caterpillars were monitored until death for feeding behaviour, moulting occurrence and presence of fungal patches. Ten were returned to the field but not monitored.

    (Summarised by: Eleanor Bladon)

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