Breeding Vashti

Breeding of the ‘Ramsgate Piper’ Eurytela vashti (MS)

  1. Breeding of the ‘Ramsgate Piper’ Eurytela vashti (MS)
    First brood – April 2002. The hundred and forty-eight eggs darkened within two weeks of being laid. Great care was taken looking after all the hatchlings, which were a light brown colour and darkened with each consecutive instar. Our first specimen to hatch was a male, which had a rather dark red-brick-brown wing band running through the hindwing upperside. No evidence of this wing band continued into the forewing, as in the white and yellow-ochre markings of E. hiarbas angustata and E. dryope angulata. The females have a much lighter beige-brown wing band that continues into the forewings from the hindwings’ upperside, but remarkably, this is not found in any of the males. We were ecstatic to have bred out ninety-six specimens of which I kept a number of males and females for my private collection. The remainder was released back into the wild at the exact spot where we had captured the original female. We kept of this batch, six males and six females, which we released into our lepidome, with the hope that they would breed successfully. On the third day after their release into the lepidome, we found several males and females in cop. All other specimens had vanished. We put this down to having many predators such as lizards, praying mantis and gecko’s in the lepidome. On the fourth day after releasing these butterflies into the lepidome, we found a fresh pair in copulation and moved them into a smaller controlled breeding environment. The second brood of butterflies came from this single pair. There was no transition in any of the specimens suggesting that it could be a form of E. hiarbas angustata.

Note:It was now decided from this evidence that this butterfly was not the aberrational male, as was believed, but in fact the male to the strange looking female, as seen in the photograph above, them being in cop.

Second brood – July; I was given seventeen eggs. I bred these through and got twelve beautiful fresh specimens, five females and seven males. I kept for my collection four males and four females and released the last four into the valley where I had originally captured the female. There was no transition in any of the specimens suggesting that it could be a form of E. hiarbas angustata. This second brood’s markings on both males and females were much darker and more fused and it was discovered at this point that it was the winter form, whereas the first brood was the summer form, as seen below.

Conservation of Butterflies in South Africa Research Material. (30th November 2002, by Earle Whiteley). Updated 2017.


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