Environment

Hope for near-extinct SA butterfly

Sapa

South African lepidopterists are in a flutter after the discovery of a second colony of critically endangered Wolkberg Zulu butterflies.

The Wolkberg Zulu, or Alaena Margaritacea, is one of 14 critically endangered South African butterfly species. (Gallo)

The Wolkberg Zulu, or Alaena Margaritacea, is one of 14 critically endangered South African butterfly species, Beeld has reported.

Until recently there was thought to be only one small colony of these butterflies near Haenertsburg in Limpopo. The Lepidoperists' Society of Africa had designated one person per endangered butterfly species to track the insects and care for their interests.

Andre Coetzer, the designated Wolkberg Zulu expert, had over the years searched in vain for other colonies of the butterfly, as the only known colony's habitat was continuously threatened by encroaching plantations and exotic trees.

Coetzer spread the news among local residents in the hope that perhaps someone would find a second colony. Early in January 2013, he was sent a photograph of a female Wolkberg Zulu by botanist Sylvie Kremer-Kohne.

Coetzer pinpointed the location of a second colony two days later, about 10km from the first colony, with Kremer-Kohne's help. – Sapa

 

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