Charaxes (Charaxes) saturnus Butler, 1866

Liseki, Steven D. & Vane-Wright, Richard I., 2015, Butterflies (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea) of Mount Kilimanjaro: Nymphalidae subfamilies Libytheinae, Danainae, Satyrinae and Charaxinae, Journal of Natural History 50, pp. 865-904: 892

publication ID 10.1080/00222933.2015.1091106


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Charaxes (Charaxes) saturnus Butler, 1866


Charaxes (Charaxes) saturnus Butler, 1866  

Henning 1989: 88,89 (9 figs, as C. jasius saturnus   ). Larsen 1996: pl. 33, fig. 458 i. d ’ Abrera 2004: 459 (2 figs). SI: Figure 26e – h.

Forewing length: male 37 – 45.5 mm [mean (n = 17) 42.58 mm, SD = 2.009]; female 44.5 – 53 mm [mean (n = 9) 49.09 mm, SD = 2.246]. van Someren (1963, p. 205) gave male forewing length as 40 – 44 mm, female 46 – 50 mm.

Note: there are considerable differences of opinion concerning the taxonomic status of this butterfly and its relatives (see e.g. Larsen 1996, p. 286). Recent molecular work, although far from definitive ( Aduse-Poku et al. 2009, p. 475), supports the contention that C. saturnus   is a separate species from both the Mediterranean C. jasius (Linnaeus, 1758)   , with which it has long been and often still is associated (e.g. Vingerhoedt 2015) and the largely parapatric African Charaxes epijasius Reiche, 1850   . The nominal taxon Charaxes harrisoni Sharpe, 1904   , from Kenya, may represent hybrid C. saturnus   × C. epijasius ( Henning 1989, p. 85)   , or a further species in this complex ( Larsen 1996, p. 286).

Kielland (1990, p. 104, as C. jasius saturnus   ) describes this butterfly as occurring in savannah and open woodland, 200 – 2200 m, from the whole of Tanzania where suitable habitats occur. van Someren (1963) does not give any specific records for the Kilimanjaro area. Based on three males in OUMNH from Taveta, c. 2500 ft, collected by Rogers during 1905, we include C. saturnus   as a member of the lower slopes fauna. More widely, this butterfly extends north throughout Kenya, and south and west to the Cape and Namibia. If admitted as separate but belonging to C. saturnus   , C. s. brunnescens Poulton, 1926, occurs from northern Angola to the Central African Republic, while C. s. pagenstecheri Poulton, 1926, flies in Ethiopia and Somalia ( Henning 1989). However, as already noted, the respective status of all these taxa and other members of the C. jasius   species complex remain uncertain.