Gardening

Strawberry tree butterfly (Charaxes jasius)

The strawberry tree butterfly or Charaxes jasius must be (and in fact, it is for many people) one of the most beautiful insects that we can find in the Iberian Peninsula. With a wingspan of up to 90mm, and with the fantastic colors it possesses, its beauty cannot be denied. However, it must be watched so that it does not cause damage.

And it is that as its name indicates, its main source of food is the strawberry tree. So it is important to know how to identify it to have it controlled controlada.

How is it?

The strawberry tree butterfly, whose scientific name is Charaxes jasius, is an insect with large wings: the males measure from 65 to 75mm and the females from 75 to 90mm. The front of the wings is brown with a marginal band, and the back has grayish-brown spots with a garnet background bordered with white. The hind wings have bluish spots.

The caterpillars are almost completely green except for two yellow lines running along their side. On the head they have two pairs of appendages, as if they were small horns, which are projected backwards.

Where does it live and what does it eat?

It is native to central and northern Africa, but today it is also found in the Iberian Peninsula, southern Italy, France and the western islands of the Mediterranean. The larvae feed mainly on strawberry tree ( Arbutus unedo ), but also on Lonchocarpus cyanescens, Sorghum roxburghii and Cassine.

Once adult, it feeds on pollen from flowers.

Can it become a plague?

Image – Wikimedia/ John Trololo

No. The strawberry tree butterfly is a beneficial insect for the orchard and garden, what happens is that the larvae… you have to keep a little watch over them, just as you have to watch the caterpillars of the machaon butterfly, which feed on the leaves of the rue. For that, you simply have to go over the plant, and if we see that there are too many or if the plant in question is still very young or small, take the insects and carry them away.

What did you think of this butterfly? Have you ever seen it?

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