Larval feeding behaviour and myrmecophily of the Brenton Blue, Orachrysops niobe (Trimen) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae)

  • Published source details Edge D.A. & van Hamburg H. (2003) Larval feeding behaviour and myrmecophily of the Brenton Blue, Orachrysops niobe (Trimen) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera, 42, 21-33.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Rear declining species in captivity

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Rear declining species in captivity

    A study in 2003 in a laboratory in the Western Cape Province, South Africa, (Edge & van Hamburg 2003) reported that Brenton blue butterfly Orachrysops niobe caterpillars reared on stems of their larval host plant Indigofera erecta with no ants became dwarf adults, but one of two larvae reared on a whole Indigofera erecta plant, with a Camponotus baynei ant colony, became a full-sized adult. Brenton blue caterpillars that were reared on cut stems of Indigofera erecta emerged as dwarf adults (average 10–13 mm forewings, number of individuals not provided). Of the two larvae that were reared on a full Indigofera erecta plant with an ant colony, one emerged as a full-sized adult (17 mm) and one died before pupation. No statistics were conducted. For the cut stem treatment, Indigofera erecta stems containing eggs found at the Brenton Blue Butterfly Reserve were cut and placed in containers. After hatching, fresh stems were provided every few days throughout larval development. Measurements of surviving caterpillars were taken at each instar and during and after pupation. For the whole plant and ant colony treatment, two caterpillars were each placed in connecting containers with an Indigofera erecta plant each. These containers were linked to another compartment containing an ant nest collected from the wild. The surviving caterpillar was measured as an adult.

    (Summarised by: Eleanor Bladon)

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust