The mysterious Dancing Amber

It’s only been seen once at Verloren Valei—time to get your spotting shoes on. Dancing Telchinia (upper side) (Photograph: © Justin Bode) Telchinia serena is a butterfly in the family Nymphalidae, the so called “brush-footed butterflies”. The name derives from … Read More

This “painted lady” gets around

This migratory butterfly species is starting to reveal its secrets. The Painted Lady, also known as Sondagsrokkie or, more officially Vanessa cardui, is a common butterfly in the family Nymphalidae. This family is called “brush-footed butterflies” because, in the adults, … Read More

Common—but oh so beautiful

The African Yellow Pansy butterfly is one of the most commonly seen lepidoptera at Verloren Valei, but that should not distract us from its intrinsic beauty. The African Yellow Pansy or Geel Gesiggie (Junonia hierta cebrene) is a common and … Read More

An elusive skolly

Infrequently observed at Verloren Valei, the Basuto Skolly or Basuto magpie has a somewhat disreputable reputation, as its name implies. By Justin Bode Thestor basutus, Basuto Skolly or Basoetoe Skollie, is the most widely distributed species in its genus. While … Read More

Conserving our lepidopteran heritage

Verloren Valei illustrates how important a role protected areas play in conserving our biodiversity. By Justin Bode Lepidoptera are recognised as playing an important role in ecological systems, and also act as biodiversity indicators. For these reasons, the Southern African … Read More

The ultimate defence

As a defence mechanism, many butterflies are poisonous. Other butterflies mimic their poisonous cousins to warn off predators. By Justin Bode When a poisonous butterfly is bitten, the toxins released stimulate a vomiting reflex in the predator that results in … Read More

Something special down in the marshlands

The Mountain Sylph butterfly is confined to high-altitude grasslands and loves wetland environments—it’s almost as if Verloren Valei was designed for it. By Justin Bode Metisella aegipan aegipan, Mountain sylph or Berg-walsertjie has a scattered distribution in the high-altitude montane … Read More

The white pilgrims

Correcting some common misconceptions about the Great Little White Butterfly Migration. By Justin Bode A common sight towards the end of December and early January in years after good rains is large swarms of white butterflies flying across the country. … Read More