Sevenia boisduvali

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Boisduval's tree nymph
Boisduval's Tree Nymph female.JPG
Female S. b. boisduvali
Boisduval's Tree Nymph male Ilanda.JPG
Male S. b. boisduvali
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae
Genus: Sevenia
Species: S. boisduvali
Binomial name
Sevenia boisduvali
(Wallengren, 1857)
  • Crenis boisduvali Wallengren, 1857
  • Asterope boisduvali
  • Sallya boisduvali
  • Asterope boisduvali kaffana Rothschild & Jordan, 1903
  • Crenis boisduvali kaffana ab. uniformis Ungemach, 1932
  • Crenis boisduvali insularis Joicey & Talbot, 1926
  • Crenis boisduvalii omissa Rothschild, 1918

Sevenia boisduvali, the Boisduval's tree nymph, is a butterfly in the Nymphalidae family. There are four subspecies; all native to Africa.[1]

Female viewed from the side with wings closed


The following is a description for S. b. boisduvali:

The wingspan of Boisduval's tree nymph is 40–45 mm.[2] The upper surface of the wings of the male are uniform dark brown, with small dark spots near the fringe of the hindwings. The female has an overall lighter brown colour on the upper surface, and orange-brown markings near the tips of the forewings. The dark spots near the fringe of the hindwings are more pronounced in females. The undersurface of the hindwings of both sexes are variegated grey and brown, and have an arc of seven dark spots encircled firstly by a greyish ring, and then an orange-brown ring. The undersurface of the forewing is orange brown with a row of four black spots near the tip. The female forewing also has two dark brown bands.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Boisduval's tree nymph is found in the warmer, forested areas of Africa. The four subspecies are found in different regions:

Life cycle[edit]


The female lays a group of eggs on the undersurface of a leaf of the larval food plant. The eggs are yellowish at first, but change to brown as the larvae develop within.

A dark-patterned male pupa
An assassin bug feeding on a larva


The larval food plants in Southern Africa are Sclerocroton integerrimus (Sapium integerrimum)[2] and the jumping-seed tree[6] (Sclerocroton ellipticus). In Kenya, the larva have been recorded on Excoecaria, Phyllanthus, Macaranga, Kigelia and Sterculia.[7] The larvae are gregarious[2] and at first only eat the upper layer of the leaves, working from the tip to the base, and leaving a pale green dead leaf behind. As they grow older, the larvae begin to eat the entire leaf, starting at the leaf margin. Sometimes the larvae defoliate individual trees.[2]

The full-grown larvae attach their rear ends to a leaf or branch with a small patch of silk and hang with their heads down. After about a day or so, they shed their skin to reveal a pupa.


After shedding its skin, the pupa hardens and remains in a fairly rigid position. However the pupa can twist from side to side when disturbed. The pupae are variable in colour; being green, or creamy brown with small dark markings, or brownish and dark patterned. The pupa takes about ten days to mature and hatch into a butterfly.


Once the butterfly has emerged from the shell of its pupa, it hangs with its wings downward. The wings inflate, unfurl and dry into shape. Adult Boisduval's tree nymphs usually keep to semi-shaded areas provided by trees. They often sit head downwards on the stems or larger branches of trees, usually with the wings held closed. The adults feed on fermented fruit and on tree sap, and the males are known to land on damp patches of ground to suck up moisture.[2]


Assassin bugs feed on the larvae.

Life cycle gallery[edit]

Recently laid eggs on a leaf of Sclerocroton integerrimus 
Young larvae feeding on Sclerocroton integerrimus 
Slightly older larvae 
Larvae almost fully grown 
Full-grown larvae 
Three colour versions of the pupae 
A green pupa 
Female recently emerged from pupa 
Male drinking apple and cranberry juice 

Emergence from pupa gallery[edit]

Pupa with dark colour before hatching 
Pupa begins to return to original colour 
Back to original colour and pattern 
The shell at the head splits open 
The butterfly begins to emerge 
The butterfly just fully emerged 
Emerged with wings crumpled 
Climbing higher to allow the wings to enlarge 
Fully extended wings drying into shape 


  1. ^ "Sallya Hemming, 1964" at Markku Savela's Lepidoptera and Some Other Life Forms
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Williams, M. (1994). Butterflies of Southern Africa: A Field Guide. ISBN 1-86812-516-5.
  3. ^ a b c Southern African Butterfly Conservation Assessment: Species summary & distribution map: Sevenia boisduvali boisduvali., retrieved 22 June 2010
  4. ^ a b Hyde, M.A. & Wursten, B. (2010). Flora of Zimbabwe: Butterfly species: Sevenia boisduvali boisduvali., retrieved 22 June 2010
  5. ^ Swaziland National Trust Commission: Malolotja Nature Reserve: Butterfly Checklist., retrieved 22 June 2010
  6. ^ Woodhall, S. (2008). What's that Butterfly?. Cape Town: Struik Publishers. ISBN 978-1-77007-486-6.
  7. ^ Larsen, Torben B. (1996). The Butterflies of Kenya and their natural history.