The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Pied Piper

Afrikaans name: Witlint-bosvlieer

Pied Piper butterfly at Vernon Crookes Nature Reserve

Photo © Steven Herbert

Eurytela hiarbas angustata

The Pied Piper is a butterfly with a wingspan of 4.5 to 5 cm. Females may have a wingspan of up to 5.5 cm. Male and female Pied Piper are similar, but the male is blacker while the female is brownish black. Males are very territorial and chase intruders away.

Pied Piper’s are attracted to fermenting fruit and it is this attribute that helps butterfly collectors trap them. Their flight is generally slow, but they regularly change direction and will dive into thick vegetation if danger presents itself.

The distribution of this sub-species of the Pied Piper is from the eastern parts of the Western Cape and along the coast to northern KwaZulu-Natal and then inland to Mpumalanga and northwards into Limpopo. There is even an isolated population in North West province. It would be interesting to know how this population came to be there.

There are number of sub-species of the Pied Piper, and they are found over most of sub-Saharan Africa. The original description of this species was made in 1782 from specimens collected in Sierra Leone.

Their larval food includes a number of species from the genus Tragia which include stinging nettles.

References and further reading

Whats That Butterfly - Author: Steve Woodhall - Published: 2008 - Page: 771

Self-guided Trails in Durban - Author: Durban Corporation - Published: 0 - Page: 122

Ivor Migdolls Field Guide to the Butterflies of Southern Africa - Author: Ivor Migdoll - Published: 1987 - Page: 166

Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa - 2nd edition - Author: Steve Woodhall - Published: 2020 - Page: 132

Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa - 1st edition - Author: Steve Woodhall - Published: 2005 - Page: 128

Familiar South African Butterflies - Author: Clive Quickelberge - Published: 1986 - Page: 36

Butterfly Gardening in South Africa - Author: Jill Reid - Published: 2000 - Page: 86

Butterfly Gardening in South Africa - Author: Jill Reid - Published: 2000 - Page: 51

Butterflies of Southern Africa - A field guide - Author: Mark Williams - Published: 1994 - Page: 84

For more info: The Virtual Museum


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