Orachrysops niobe – Brenton Blue
Also described by Trimen at Knysna (1858). Rediscovered by Ball at Nature’s Valley (1977), but became extinct there. Breeding colony at Brenton-on-Sea found by Pringle in 1991, and now protected in a Special Nature Reserve. Male upperside dark purplish blue with greyish-black border. Female blue is restricted to inner half of the wings. Underside greyish with curved rows of black spots encircled with greyish white. Habitat is in thicket/ fynbos mosaic with dominant trees being Pterocelastrus tricuspidatus (Candlewood) which provide optimum shade. Larvae feed on Indigofera erecta, a small legume with pink flowers. First two larval instars feed on leaves and later instars on rootstocks of this plant, tended by Camponotus baynei ants. First brood in November and second brood in February/ March. Assessed as Critically Endangered in the latest Red List.
Print of painting by Stephen Henning