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Charaxes jasius

Charaxes jasius

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Cladus: Panarthropoda
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Classis: Insecta
Cladus: Dicondylia
Subclassis: Pterygota
Cladus: Metapterygota
Infraclassis: Neoptera
Cladus: Eumetabola
Cladus: Endopterygota
Superordo: Panorpida
Cladus: Amphiesmenoptera
Ordo: Lepidoptera
Subordo: Glossata
Cladus: Coelolepida
Cladus: Myoglossata
Cladus: Neolepidoptera
Infraordo: Heteroneura
Cladus: Eulepidoptera
Cladus: Ditrysia
Cladus: Apoditrysia
Cladus: Obtectomera
Superfamilia: Papilionoidea

Familia: Nymphalidae
Subfamilia: Charaxinae
Tribus: Charaxini
Genus: Charaxes
Species: Charaxes jasius
Subspecies: C. j. brunnescens – C. j. epijasius – C. j. harrisoni – C. j. jasius – C. j. pagenstecheri – C. j. saturnus

Charaxes jasius (Linnaeus, 1767)

Papilio jasius Linnaeus, 1767
Papilio jason Linnaeus, 1767
Charaxes jasius var. major Oberthür, 1922
Type locality: Tangier, Ain Chaneh (Morocco)

Primary references

Linnaeus, C. 1767. Systema naturae per regna tria naturae: secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis t. 1, pt. 2: 749. BHL
Oberthür, C. 1922. Le Lépidoptères du Maroc. Nymphalidae. Etudes de lépidoptérologie comparée 19(1): 37.

Additional references

van Someren, V.G.L. 1963. Revisional notes on African Charaxes (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Part I. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Entomology 13(7): 195–242. BHL Reference page.
Williams, M.C. 2007. Checklist of Afrotropical Papilionoidea and Hesperioidea. 7th Edn. (April 2007). Downloaded from Afrotropical Butterflies. Reference page.

Vernacular names
English: Two-tailed Pasha
magyar: Tigrislepke
polski: Piękniś sułtanek

Charaxes jasius, the two-tailed pasha, is a butterfly in the family Nymphalidae. It is the only European species of the genus Charaxes. Divergence of the Mediterranean species C. jasius from the last common ancestor it shared with its closest related species still flying in the Afrotropical realm most probably occurred around 2 mya, i.e. during the Pliocene.[3]

For a key to the terms used, see Glossary of entomology terms.

Charaxes jasius is a medium to large butterfly with a wingspan reaching 76–83 mm in males,[4] the female being larger. Males up to 80–100 mm wingspan, with females even larger, may be found in Morocco.[5][6] Each hindwing bears two tails, characteristic of most species of the genus. The spring seasonal brood is smaller in size compared with the second and sometimes third broods, and the two tails on each hindwing tend to curve somewhat towards each other resembling a pincer, less so in the later broods with slightly longer straighter tails. The upperside ground colour of the wings is dark brownish-black, with some changeable purplish sheen viewed at varying angles; forewing with suggestion of darker discal bars, postdiscal spots orange; hindwing with whitish patch near costal border, dusted with brownish scales; outer border of both wings deep orange-ochreous, divided by black-scaled veins. Hindwing with small submarginal blue spots, often vestigial; more developed in the female. There is some variation in the intensity of the ground colour, and in development of the postdiscal orange spots. The underside has a very characteristic mosaic appearance broadly similar to a number of related species, traversed by a jumble of bands and of brown, reddish, greyish and blackish patches, all edged with a filigree of white. Beyond the inner mosaic, a white complete discal band bridges across fore- to hindwings. The outer orange marginal coloration is present on the underside also. The female resembles the male but is larger.

C. jasius. Roquebrun, France. Male Upperside

C. jasius. Roquebrun, France. Male Upperside
C. jasius. Roquebrun, France. Male Underside

C. jasius. Roquebrun, France. Male Underside


This butterfly is the type species of the genus Charaxes.[7] The type location is Barbaria, Algeria.[8]

C. jasius is a stable species with no currently recognised subspecies.[9][10] It is found in Southern Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, and North Africa.

Related species

Historical attempts to assemble a cluster of presumably related species into a "Charaxes jasius Group" have not been wholly convincing. More recent taxonomic revision,[9] corroborated by phylogenetic research, allow a more rational grouping congruent with cladistic relationships. Within a well-populated clade of 27 related species sharing a common ancestor approximately 16 mya during the Miocene,[3] 26 are now considered together as the jasius Group.[9] One of the two lineages forms a robust monophyletic group of seven species sharing a common ancestor approximately 2–3 mya, i.e. during the Pliocene,[3] and are considered as the jasius subgroup.[9] The second lineage leads to 19 other species within the Jasius group, which are split in to three well-populated subgroups of closely related species.

The jasius Group (26 Species).[9]

Clade 1: the jasius subgroup (7 species):

Charaxes jasius
Charaxes epijasius [stat.rev.2005][9]
Charaxes legeri
Charaxes saturnus [stat.rev.2005][9]
Charaxes pelias
Charaxes castor
Charaxes hansali

Clade 2: contains the three well-populated additional subgroups (19 species) of the jasius Group:

the brutus subgroup (4 species):
Charaxes brutus
Charaxes antiquus
Charaxes junius
Charaxes andara

the pollux subgroup (4 species):
Charaxes pollux
Charaxes phoebus
Charaxes ansorgei
Charaxes dowsetti

the eudoxus subgroup (11 species):
Charaxes eudoxus
Charaxes lucyae
Charaxes richelmanni
Charaxes musakensis
Charaxes biokensis[stat.rev.2005][9]
Charaxes ducarmei
Charaxes druceanus
Charaxes tectonis
Charaxes phraortes
Charaxes andranodorus
Charaxes andrefana[stat.rev.2025][9]

The 27th species of Clade 2 has shown rapid recent divergence and is treated as a monospecific lactetinctus Group, separated from the jasius Group.[3] Further exploration of the phylogenetic relationships amongst existing Charaxes taxa is required to improve clarity.

This species occurs from Portugal and around the coastal Mediterranean region to the Atlantic NW coast of Morocco, but it does not exist in the Afrotropical realm.[9]

It occurs along the European Mediterranean coast from west Portugal to the coastal islands of Greece (except for the northern Adriatic sea coast), from the central peninsula of Italy to Istria, and the coastline of southern Anatolia including Samos, Ikaria and Rhodes. Its range includes the Balearic Islands, Corsica, Sardinia, Corfu and Crete. Inland, the butterfly is found in locally in Spain from Huelva and Málaga to Madrid and Salamanca. In France, the butterfly is found isolated inland from Provence to Lozère, Ardèche and Aveyron.[8] Further around the Eastern Mediterranean coast, it occurs in Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, and continues along much of North African coast to the Atlantic Moroccan NW coast as far as coastal Tiznit environs, venturing inland in a very few Moroccan locations as high as 2,400m asl.[4]
Maquis vegetation in Balagne, Corsica

Its typical habitat around the Mediterranean Basin is the Maquis shrubland, up to 700–800 meters above sea level. This comprises thick, mixed scrub forests, often on hillsides, in hot and dry regions. The butterfly is found wherever its larval host plants are abundantly available.[8]
Natural history

The two-tailed pasha is a fast-flying butterfly that displays territorial behaviour. The butterfly also is a noted for hill-topping. The adults of both sexes are attracted to fermenting fruits; they are attracted to the ethanol contained therein, and can be baited with wine and other alcoholic beverages.[8]
Life cycle

Charaxes jasius is bivoltine or trivoltine , i.e. it has two or three generations per year depending on latitude and altitude.[8][4]

Typically, the first batch of eggs are laid in May–June and the second in mid August–mid October.[8] The second batch caterpillars spend the winter in the larval stage, and pupate the next spring. The female lays the eggs on the upper surface of the leaves of the host plant, laying no more than one egg per leaf.[11]

The caterpillar is green, cylindrical and up to 50 millimetres (2.0 in) long. It has rings of yellow-white raised spots on the body, yellow lateral lines along the sides, and two yellow ocelli on the back. The head bears four horns facing backwards. The caterpillar makes a leaf tent from silken threads, to which it returns after feeding on surrounding leaves.[11]

When the caterpillar is fully matured, it hangs on a twig and pupates. The pupa resembles a ripening fruit as it is first green and becomes brown as the imago develops inside.[11] After a period that can range from two weeks to one month, the pupal case opens letting out the adult butterfly.



Newly formed pupa

Pupa ready for hatching


Larval food plants

The preferred larval foodplant is the Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo), although secondary or perhaps accidental choices are known to include a few Osyris species.[5]
Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo), the preferred larval host plant of C. jasius along the European Mediterranean coast.[8]

In the "Errata" of Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis, authored by Caroli a Linné, published in 1768 by Laurentius Salvius, Stockholm. Vide Sherborn, Charles Davies (1899). An index to the generic and trivial names of animals, described by Linnaeus, in the 10th and 12th editions of his "Systema naturae.". Dulau & co. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
"Charaxes jasius". Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
"Out of Africa again: A phylogenetic hypothesis of the genus Charaxes (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) based on five gene regions". Aduse-Poku, Vingerhoedt, Wahlberg. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (2009) 53;463–478
Tschikovolets, Vadim (2011). Butterflies of Europe & the Mediterranean area. Pardubice, Czech Republic: Tschikovolets Publications. p. 309. ISBN 978-80-904900-0-0.
Tarrier, M. R.; Delacre, J. (2008). Les Papillons du jour du Maroc, Guide d'identification et de bioindication. Biotope (Collection Parthenope). ISBN 978-2-914817-16-5.
Oberthür, 1922; Étud. Lépid. Comp. 19 (1): 37; Charaxes jasius var. major. TL: Tangier, Ain Chaneh (Morocco)
Rydon, AHB (1971). "The Systematics of the Charaxidae (Lep. : Nymphaloidea)". The Entomologist's Record and Journal of Variation. London. 83: 219–233. Retrieved 15 March 2018. Pg. 220 "Recognising this fact, Ochsenheimer (1816, Schmett. Europa, vol. 4) removed Papilio jasius from Paphia, and placed it instead in his own genus Charaxes, thus making P. jasius the type-species of the latter by monotypy."
Tolman, Tom; Lewington, Richard (2001). Butterflies of Britain and Europe. London: Collins, London. p. 143. ISBN 0-00-219992-0.
Turlin, B. (2005). Bauer & Frankenbach (ed.). Butterflies of the World: Charaxes 1. Vol. 22. Keltern: Goecke & Evers. p. 3. ISBN 3937783156.
Niklas Wahlberg; Carlos Peña (eds.). "Charaxini". Retrieved 5 March 2022.

James, David G. (17 October 2017). The Book of Caterpillars: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred Species from Around the World. University of Chicago Press. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-226-28736-2. Retrieved 17 April 2020.

External links

Images of Charaxes jasius at Consortium for the Barcode of Life.
Images of C. jasius jasius at Royal Museum for Central Africa (Albertine Rift Project).

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