Brenton Blue Butterfly
Brenton-on-Sea is a small town about 15 kilometers west of Knysna in the Western Cape.
The town is named after Sir Jahleel Brenton who declared Knysna a harbour in 1818.
The area is home to the endangered Brenton blue butterfly.
The Brenton blue butterfly is endemic to South Africa.
The wingspan is 24 to 38 mm for males and 22 to 42 mm for females. Adults are on wing from October to November and from February to March. There are two generations per year.
The larvae of the first two instars feed on the leaves and later instars on rootstock. The larvae can be found in holes at the base of their host plant. They are attended to by ants.
The butterfly was discovered in 1858 by Roland Trimen and was not seen again until 1977, when Dr Jonathan Ball found a population at Nature's Valley. This population died out during the 1980s but in 1991 Ernest Pringle of Bedford located another colony at Brenton-on-Sea. A housing development was planned for this site, but this was prevented after a highly publicised campaign to save the species from extinction. This resulted in the procurement of the land on which the butterfly breeds and it is proclaimed as a Special Nature Reserve in July 2003.
The butterfly is red listed as critically endangered. The Special Nature Reserve at Brenton-on-Sea is managed by Cape Nature.