Lepidochrysops methymna ssp. dicksoni Tite

Dickson’s Dark Opal (Lepidochrysops methymna ssp. dicksoni)  

The Monkey Blue is widely distributed in the Eastern- and Western Cape Provinces of South Africa, the species has very high demands concerning the structure of its habitat.  

The caterpillars in the first few days of their life feed on two plant species, Pseudoselago serrata (P. J. Bergius) Hilliard and Pseudoselago spuria (L.) Hilliard, hereafter they require the presence of colonies of a special ant species, Liengme’s Camponotus Ant (Camponotus liengmei For.) (or Camponotus maculatus ssp. liengmei For.), in whose anthills they live from the third instar on as brood parasites, feeding on the eggs and larvae of the ants.  


Dickson’s Monkey Blue, called Tygerberg-bloutjie in Afrikaans, was described in the year 1964. The subspecies was restricted to a very tiny area of only about 4 km² on the northwestern side of the Tygerberg range – this area was converted into agricultural land for wheat farming, whereby both, the food plants as well as the ant colonies were destroyed.  

Dickson’s Monkey Blue is now considered extinct.  



[1] G. A. Henning; R. F. Terblanche; J. B. Ball: South African Red Data Book: butterflies. SANBI Biodiversity Series 13. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria 2009  


Depiction from: ‘G. T. Bethune-Baker: A Monograph of the genus Catochrysops Boisduval (Auctorum). Transactions of the Entomological Society of London. 275-366. 1922’ 

(public domain)  


edited: 14.10.2016