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Charaxes Ochsenheimer 1816

Andrew V. Z. Brower
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Charaxes candiope sucking tree sap
taxon links [up-->]Charaxes eupale [up-->]Charaxes pleione [up-->]Charaxes ameliae [up-->]Charaxes catachrous [up-->]Charaxes imperialis [up-->]Charaxes porthos [up-->]Charaxes castor [up-->]Euxanthe [up-->]Polyura [up-->]Charaxes varanes [up-->]Charaxes lucretius [up-->]Charaxes protoclea [up-->]Charaxes tiridates [up-->]Charaxes etesipe [up-->]Charaxes candiope [up-->]Charaxes boueti Not MonophyleticNot MonophyleticNot MonophyleticNot MonophyleticMonophyly UncertainMonophyly UncertainMonophyly UncertainMonophyly UncertainMonophyly UncertainPhylogenetic position of group is uncertainPhylogenetic position of group is uncertainPhylogenetic position of group is uncertainPhylogenetic position of group is uncertainPhylogenetic position of group is uncertainPhylogenetic position of group is uncertainPhylogenetic position of group is uncertainPhylogenetic position of group is uncertainPhylogenetic position of group is uncertain[down<--]Charaxini Interpreting the tree
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The root of the current tree connects the organisms featured in this tree to their containing group and the rest of the Tree of Life. The basal branching point in the tree represents the ancestor of the other groups in the tree. This ancestor diversified over time into several descendent subgroups, which are represented as internal nodes and terminal taxa to the right.

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Containing group: Charaxini


Big, beautiful Charaxes butterflies - the most diverse genus in Africa? Or maybe the most oversplit. Ackery et al. (1995) state, "No group of African butterflies arouses stronger emotions than Charaxes." Gaining an understanding of their phylogenetic relationships will add a new chapter to their convoluted literature.

Most of the species above are Afrotropical taxa (Charaxes jasius extends to southern Europe). The clade C. marki - C. fervens are the ones distributed from Indomalaya, the Indonesian archipelago to New Guinea (in addition to C. solon).

Females are often larger than males, and many of them exhibit paler coloration or white bands on the wings that are not present in the males.  The larvae possess large sclerotized "horns" on their head capsules.

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

The tree displayed is based on information from several sources and does not represent a result of a single phylogenetic analysis.  The backbone of the tree and the hypothesis that Polyura and Euxanthe are nested within a paraphyletic Charaxes is based on the molecular analysis of Aduse-Poku et al. (2009).  Phylogenetic relationships of the Indo-Australasian clade have been examined by Müller et al. (2010), also based on DNA sequences, and that clade is inserted at its putative position based on partially-overlapping samples in these two studies.  Several of the more widespread species appear to be paraphyletic, including C. bernardus, C. latona and C. affinis.

Members of Larsen's (2005) putative species groups for west African taxa not sampled in the above studies are tentatively placed with their relatives. A long list of extralimital members of these groups is included on the parent of this page, and awaits a phylogenetic analysis.

Other Names for Charaxes Ochsenheimer 1816


Ackery PR, Smith CR, and Vane-Wright RI eds. 1995. Carcasson's African butterflies. Canberra: CSIRO.

Aduse-Poku, K., Vingerhoedt, E.,Wahlberg, N. 2009. Out-of-Africa again: A phylogenetic hypothesis of the genus Charaxes (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) based on 5 gene regions. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 53, 463-478.

Corbet AS, Pendlebury HM, and Eliot JN. 1992. The butterflies of the Malay Peninsula. Malayan Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur.

Cowan CF. 1968. Annotationes Rhopalocerologicae. Clunbury Press, Berkhamsted, Herts.

Larsen, T.B. 1991. The butterflies of Kenya and their natural history. Oxford University Press, Oxford, U. K.

Larsen, T. B. 2005 Butterflies of West Africa. Stenstrup, Denmark: Apollo Books.

Müller, C.J., Wahlberg, N.,Beheregaray, L.B. 2010. 'After Africa': the evolutionary history and systematics of the genus Charaxes Ochsenheimer (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidaae) in the Indo-Pacific region. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 100: 457-481.

Parsons M. 1999. The butterflies of Papua New Guinea: their systematics and biology. Academic Press, San Diego.

Vane-Wright RI, and de Jong R. 2003. The butterflies of Sulawesi: annotated checklist for a critical island fauna. Zoologische Verhandelingen 343: 1-267.

Information on the Internet

Title Illustrations
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Charaxes candiope sucking tree sap
Scientific Name Charaxes candiope
Location Gombe National Park, Tanzania
Comments These butterflies were clustered round an oozing wound in a tree-trunk. The species was also seen on civet dung.
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Identified By David Bygott
Behavior Feeding
Life Cycle Stage Adult
View Dorsal/lateral
Copyright © 2005
Scientific Name Charaxes jasius
Location Corcino, Aljezur, Portugal
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Source Charaxes jasius
Source Collection Flickr
Image Use creative commons This media file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License - Version 2.0.
Copyright © 2007 Pedro Henriques
Scientific Name Charaxes eupale
Location Nigeria: Port Harcourt
Specimen Condition Live Specimen
Identified By Dirk Motshagen
Behavior feeding on bananas
Life Cycle Stage adult
View ventral
Copyright © 2009 Dirk Motshagen
About This Page

Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Andrew V. Z. Brower at

Page: Tree of Life Charaxes Ochsenheimer 1816. Authored by Andrew V. Z. Brower. The TEXT of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License - Version 3.0. Note that images and other media featured on this page are each governed by their own license, and they may or may not be available for reuse. Click on an image or a media link to access the media data window, which provides the relevant licensing information. For the general terms and conditions of ToL material reuse and redistribution, please see the Tree of Life Copyright Policies.

Citing this page:

Brower, Andrew V. Z. 2012. Charaxes Ochsenheimer 1816. Version 12 March 2012 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Charaxes/70521/2012.03.12 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/

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