Kenneth Misson Pennington: - ‘KMP’ – died unexpectedly in January 1974. The manuscript of his life-long work on the butterflies of Southern Africa was unfinished. Yet, during his life he had come to be held in such respect and regard, both as a schoolmaster and as a butterfly-collector, that within a few months of his death, plans were underway to pay tribute to him by publishing (this) book under his name.


Born in September 1897 in Greytown, Natal, he went first to St. David’s School there and then on to Michaelhouse where he had a highly successful career both in the classroom and on the sports fields.  World War 1 interrupted his career. He joined the Royal Flying Corps. was awarded the A.F.C. and mentioned in despatches during his service in Mesopotamia. After the War he went up to Oxford as the Natal Rhodes Scholar, gained his MA and B.C.I., and returned to Natal in 1923. He married Ruth Frampton in that year. They had grown up together in Greytown as children and their marriage was to last over fifty deeply happy and rewarding years.  In 1925 he dramatically abandoned his promising career as a barrister at the Natal Bar to become a schoolmaster at his old school. The decision was not only to be of inestimable benefit to Michaelhouse, which he served for the next 34 years, but also gave him full scope during the school holidays to range far and wide over Southern Africa in pursuit of its butterflies.  In his years of retirement at ‘Yellowwoods’, originally a Great Trek homestead near Curry’s Post, he began to compile the manuscript of his book; but so great was his interest as a collector in breaking new ground, and so vigorous his health, that much of his time was still spent away from home ‘on safari’ and the manuscript tended to be neglected.


However, he had so inspired others by his boundless enthusiasm and willingness to share his unequalled experience in the field, that an extraordinary drive was soon underway to complete his life’s work on butterflies, a drive, which has culminated in the publishing of this definitive work on our Lepidoptera.




Extract from the Foreword of  “Pennington’s Butterflies of Southern Africa” the first definitive work devoted solely to Southern African butterflies: Illustrated with 198 plates in full colour this comprehensive record of no less than 780 species is unique in the world of Lepidoptera.  (Foreword by his son Rex Pennington, April 1977)



P.S. from the specimens illustrated in this volume, it is clear that a great deal of his collecting was undertaken in the Muden area. (Which could almost be termed Pennington Country) which remains host to over 100 species and the variety of host plants that supports them.


Below is a list of Butterfly species collected at Mhlopeni Nature Reserve, Muden and positively identified by Clive Quickelberge, Scientific Officer for  Durban Natural Science Museum.


Family            DANAIDAE:

Danaus chrysippus


Family            SATYRIDAE

Bicyclus safitza safitza

Physcaeneura panda

Cassionympha cassius

Stygionympha wichgrafi wichgrafi

Ypthima asterope


Family            ACRAEIDAE

Acraea horta

Acraea neobule neobule

Acraea obeira burni

Acraea eponina manjaca

Acraea esebria esebria

Acraea natalica natalica

Acraea aglaonice

Acraea zetes acara


Family            CHARAXIDAE

Charaxes varanes varanes

Charaxes candipe candiope

Charaxes jasius saturnus

Charaxes zoolina zoolina

Charaxes jahlusa jahlusa


Family            NYMPHALIDAE

Byblia anvatara acheloia

Byblia ilithyia

Hypolimnas misippus

Catacroptera cloanthe cloanthe

Precis archesia

Precis octavia sesamus

Junonia natalica

Junonia hierta cebrene

Junonia oenone

Cynthia cardui

Phalanta phalantha aethiopica


Family            LIBYTHEIDAE

Libythea labdaca laius


Family            LYCAENIDAE

Alsena amazoula amazoula

Lachnocnema bibulus

Hypolycaena philippus philippus

Stugeta bowkeri bowkeri

Iolaus silas silas

Iolaus mimosae mimosae

Axiocerses tjoane

Leptomyrina hirundo

Gonatomyrina gorgias

Anthene amarah amarah

Anthene butleri livida

Cacyreus lingeus lingeus

Cacyreus marshalli

Zintha hintza hintza

Tuxentius calice calice

Tarucus sybaris sybaris

Lampides boeticus

Cyclyrius pirithous

Cyclyrius brevidentatis

Lepidochrysops patricia

Eicochrysops messapus messapus

Eicochrysops messapus mahallokoaena

Cupidopsis iobates iobates

Freyeria trochylus

Azanus jesous jesous

Oraidium barberae

Zizula hylax hylax

Actizera lucida lucida


Family            PIERIDAE

Pinacopterix eriphia

Colias electo electo

Catopsilia florella

Eurema brigitta brigitta

Eronia cleodora cleodora

Eronia leda

Colotis vesta

Colotis ione

Colotis danae annae

Colotis auxo auxo

Colotis antevippe gavisa

Colotis evippe omphale

Colotis evagore antigone

Colotis eris eris

Belenois aurota aurota

Belenois creona severina

Belenois gidica

Dixeia charina charina

Dixeia pigea

Mylothris agathina



Papilio dardanus cenea

Papilio constantinus

Papilio demodocus demodocus

Papilio nireus lyaeus

Graphium leonidas

Graphium antheus




Eretia umbra umbra

Sarangesa phidyla

Sarangesa motozi

Spialia abscondita

Spialia spio

Kedestes callicles

Pelopidas mathias mathias

Pelopidas thrax inconspicua

Borbo fatuellus fatuellus

Gegenes niso niso