I don’t know how the Layman butterfly got its common name but there must be a story there somewhere. This butterfly is quite common along the eastern region of South Africa. It occurs from around East London through to Limpopo. Beyond our borders it can be found as far north as Ethiopia.
Where is the Layman butterfly found?
They are found in a variety of habitats including gardens and parks. The pair shown above rested on my Christmas Cactus for a couple of days and were normally facing each other as shown in the photo. They are on the wing all year round although they are most abundant in summer. The Layman likes to feed on alkaloid sap that seeps out of damaged plants.
The Layman is fairly large with females having a wingspan of around 65 mm. The male is smaller having a wingspan of around 55 mm. The male and female has fairly similar colouration. They are very similar to the butterfly known as the Chief. The Layman is unpalatable to most predators which allows it to get away with a slow, almost lazy, way of flying.
The Layman is attracted to gardens that have its main host plants which are Monkey Rope (Cynanchum ellipticum) and the Natal Dog-wort (Cynanchum natalitium). The female lays up to 40 eggs on the underside of the leaves.