n African Entomology - Behavioural ecology of the Karkloof blue butterfly (Lepidoptera : Lycaenidae) relevant to its conservation




The Karkloof blue butterfly, (Butler) (Lepidoptera : Lycaenidae), is endemic to the Mistbelt grassland of KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa, and is currently Red-listed as Vulnerable. This study compares the ecological conditions at the four known colonies to assist in making informed decisions regarding its conservation. A large proportion of the grassland in KwaZulu-Natal has been afforested and cultivated, and at least 92% of the Mistbelt has been transformed, with only about 1% in good condition remaining. Predictions on the habitat requirements of this species are necessary for developing a conservation strategy and action plan. Here, we also propose as an indicator species for quality Mistbelt grassland. Saving enough of the remaining Mistbelt grassland is crucial, not just for the survival of , but also for the Mistbelt grassland community as a whole.


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