Genus Palpopleura Rambur, 1842

Distribution in Africa and surrounding Islands

  • Five species occur in Africa, one in Madagascar and one in southern Asia.

General identification features

  • Very to fairly small (hindwing 15-29 mm)
  • Short and broad abdomen with a characteristic pattern of three black and four yellow stripes, which becomes pruinose with maturity.
  • Fore wing costa wavy, concave halfway between base and node; waviness only weak in P. deceptor (Deceptive Widow)
  • Occipital triangle small with rather concave borders, eyes touching over distance of at least half its length
  • Either Pt bicoloured (half white and half black)
  • Wings have extensive dark markings (normally at least covering hind wing triangle or subcostal space of fore wing with dark streak), or both
Habitat and behaviour:
  • Most species inhabit rivers and streams, where adults can be elusive and furtive, while larvae are easier to find.
  • Perches mostly on rocks, tops of branches or grass stems


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