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African Monarch

Danaus chrysippus

''Danaus chrysippus'', known as the Plain Tiger or African Monarch, is a common butterfly which is widespread in Asia and Africa. It belongs to the Danainae subfamily of the brush-footed butterfly family, Nymphalidae. It is a medium-sized, non-edible butterfly, which is mimicked by multiple species.

The Plain Tiger is believed to be one of the first butterflies to be used in art. A 3500 year old Egyptian fresco in Luxor features the oldest illustration of this species.

The Plain Tiger can be considered the archetypical danaine of India. Accordingly, this species has been studied in greater detail than other members of its subfamily occurring in India.
Danaus chrysippus Danaidae 
Danaus chrysippus 
 Linnaeus,1758 
 Milkweed, Monarch, Plain Tiger 
 African Monarch,Danaus chrysippus,Turkey,animal antenna,animal head,animal leg,animal wing,autumn,backgrounds,beautiful,beauty,biodiversity,biology,botany,bright,bug,butterfly,butterfly –change,closeup,color

Appearance

The Plain Tiger is a medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan of about 7–8 cm. The body is black with many white spots. The wings are tawny the upper side being brighter and richer than the underside. The apical half of the fore wing is black with a white band. The hind wing has 3 black spots around the center. The hind wing has a thin border of black enclosing a series of semicircular white spots.

Background color and extent of white on the forewings varies somewhat across the wide range; see Systematics and taxonomy below.

The male Plain Tiger is smaller than the female, but more brightly colored. In addition, male danaines have a number of secondary sexual characteristics. In the case of the Plain Tiger, these are:
⤷  The male has a pouch on the hindwing. This spot is white with a thick black border and bulges slightly. It is a cluster of specialised scent scales used to attract females.
⤷  The males possess two brush-like organs which can be pushed out of the tip of the abdomen.
metomorpozis Danaus chrysippus butterfly African Monarch,Danaus chrysippus

Distribution

The range of the Plain Tiger extends from Africa and southern Europe, eastwards via Sri Lanka, India, and Myanmar to China and Sulawesi. It is a very common species.
Winged Beauty Striped Tiger... African Monarch,Danaus chrysippus

Habitat

It is found in every kind of country including the desert and right up into the mountains till 9000 feet. Primarily a butterfly of open country and gardens. Unlike the Common Tiger, a related species, is least common in damp, forested, hilly regions. It is a somewhat migratory species.

This butterfly is perhaps the commonest of Indian butterflies and is a familiar sight to practically everyone on the subcontinent. It flies from dawn to dusk, frequenting gardens, sipping from flowers and, late in the day, fluttering low over bushes to find a resting place for the night.

As usual for diurnal butterflies, this species rests with its wings closed. When basking it sits close to the ground and spreads its wings with its back to the sun so that the wings are fully exposed to the sun's rays.
African monarch Such a joy to see these butterlies around at the moment African Monarch,Danaus chrysippus,Geotagged,Lepidoptera,South Africa,Summer,butterflies

Reproduction

The Plain Tiger's larval host plants are from several families, most importantly Asclepiadoideae :
⤷  ''Asclepias'' – milkweeds
⤷  ''Aspidoglossum interruptum''
⤷  ''Calotropis'' – mudar
⤷  ''Caralluma burchardii''
⤷  ''Cryptolepis buchananii''
⤷  ''Cynanchum''
⤷  ''Gomphocarpus fruticosus''
⤷  ''Kanahia laniflora''
⤷  ''Leichardtia australis''
⤷  ''Leptadenia hastata''
⤷  ''Marsdenia leichhardtiana''
⤷  ''Metaplexis japonica''
⤷  ''Orbea variegata''
⤷  ''Oxystelma pulchellum''
⤷  ''Pentatropis''
⤷  ''Tylophora''

Host plants from other families include ''Dyerophytum indicum'' , ''Ficus'' , ''Ipomoea'' , ''Lepisanthes rubiginosa'' as well as some Euphorbiaceae, Malvaceae, Poaceae, Rosaceae and Scrophulariaceae.
Danaus chrysippus (Metamorphosis)  African Monarch,Danaus chrysippus

Food

The Plain Tiger's larval host plants are from several families, most importantly Asclepiadoideae :
⤷  ''Asclepias'' – milkweeds
⤷  ''Aspidoglossum interruptum''
⤷  ''Calotropis'' – mudar
⤷  ''Caralluma burchardii''
⤷  ''Cryptolepis buchananii''
⤷  ''Cynanchum''
⤷  ''Gomphocarpus fruticosus''
⤷  ''Kanahia laniflora''
⤷  ''Leichardtia australis''
⤷  ''Leptadenia hastata''
⤷  ''Marsdenia leichhardtiana''
⤷  ''Metaplexis japonica''
⤷  ''Orbea variegata''
⤷  ''Oxystelma pulchellum''
⤷  ''Pentatropis''
⤷  ''Tylophora''

Host plants from other families include ''Dyerophytum indicum'' , ''Ficus'' , ''Ipomoea'' , ''Lepisanthes rubiginosa'' as well as some Euphorbiaceae, Malvaceae, Poaceae, Rosaceae and Scrophulariaceae.
Danaus chrysippus  African Monarch,Danaus chrysippus

Predators

The Plain Tiger is protected from attacks due to the unpalatable alkaloids ingested during the larval stages. The butterfly therefore flies slowly and leisurely, generally close to the ground and in a straight line. This gives a would-be predator ample time to recognise and avoid attacking it. Inexperienced predators will try attacking it, but will learn soon enough to avoid this butterfly as the alkaloids in its body cause vomiting.

The butterfly also has a tough, leathery skin to survive such occasional attacks. When attacked it fakes death and oozes nauseating liquid which makes it smell and taste terrible. This encourages the predator to release the butterfly quickly. The Plain Tiger thus has the ability to recover "miraculously" from predator attacks that would kill most other butterflies.

The protection mechanisms of the Plain Tiger, as of the other danaines, and indeed of all colorful unpalatable butterflies, result in predators learning this memorable aspect at first hand. Predators soon associate the patterns and habits of such butterfly species with unpalatability to avoid hunting them in future.

This advantage of protection has led to a number of edible butterfly species, referred to as "mimics", evolving to resemble inedible butterflies, which are referred to as the "model". The resemblance is not only in color, shapes, and markings, but also in behavioural and flight patterns. This form of mimicry - where an edible species mimics an inedible species - is known as Batesian mimicry.

The mimics can resemble the models very closely. In some cases, it requires examination in hand and reference to field guides to tell them apart. The Plain Tiger is specifically mimicked by the following butterflies:
⤷  Indian Fritillary females
⤷  Danaid Eggfly females.

The following butterflies have a general resemblance common to both the Plain Tiger and the Common Tiger:
⤷  Leopard Lacewing males and females
⤷  Indian Tamil Lacewing males and females
⤷  Common Palmfly females

The similarity between the Plain and Common Tigers makes them Müllerian mimics, as the adverse experience a predator makes with either species will also protect the other.
Monarch butterfly  butterfly African Monarch,Danaus chrysippus,Geotagged,India,Monarch Butterfly,Spring

Defense

The Plain Tiger is protected from attacks due to the unpalatable alkaloids ingested during the larval stages. The butterfly therefore flies slowly and leisurely, generally close to the ground and in a straight line. This gives a would-be predator ample time to recognise and avoid attacking it. Inexperienced predators will try attacking it, but will learn soon enough to avoid this butterfly as the alkaloids in its body cause vomiting.

The butterfly also has a tough, leathery skin to survive such occasional attacks. When attacked it fakes death and oozes nauseating liquid which makes it smell and taste terrible. This encourages the predator to release the butterfly quickly. The Plain Tiger thus has the ability to recover "miraculously" from predator attacks that would kill most other butterflies.

The protection mechanisms of the Plain Tiger, as of the other danaines, and indeed of all colorful unpalatable butterflies, result in predators learning this memorable aspect at first hand. Predators soon associate the patterns and habits of such butterfly species with unpalatability to avoid hunting them in future.

This advantage of protection has led to a number of edible butterfly species, referred to as "mimics", evolving to resemble inedible butterflies, which are referred to as the "model". The resemblance is not only in color, shapes, and markings, but also in behavioural and flight patterns. This form of mimicry - where an edible species mimics an inedible species - is known as Batesian mimicry.

The mimics can resemble the models very closely. In some cases, it requires examination in hand and reference to field guides to tell them apart. The Plain Tiger is specifically mimicked by the following butterflies:
⤷  Indian Fritillary females
⤷  Danaid Eggfly females.

The following butterflies have a general resemblance common to both the Plain Tiger and the Common Tiger:
⤷  Leopard Lacewing males and females
⤷  Indian Tamil Lacewing males and females
⤷  Common Palmfly females

The similarity between the Plain and Common Tigers makes them Müllerian mimics, as the adverse experience a predator makes with either species will also protect the other.
Danaus chrysippus - plain tiger This gorgeous butterfly is closely related to the famous monarch butterflies of the western world. Being a tropical climate, there is no requirement for a migration here in Indonesia, and the colourful butterfly can be observed all year round.

Like its USA cousins, the caterpillar feeds on milkweed plants. This affords the caterpillar and subsequently the butterfly with protection, due to the foul taste imparted by the milkweed chemicals, which are normally poisonous to insects.

The taste does not save the life of the individual caterpillar or butterfly, but it will prevent the next bug from a similar fate, as the predator learns. This defence is so successful, that other butterflies have evolved similar color patterns, to fool the predators.

I can understand how the mimic pattern evolves over millions of years; the butterfly carrying the correct color has less predators, and therefore more chance of reproducing, and so the evolution goes, as each change that brings the color and pattern to the tiger, the more effective the defence.

Location is Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. Scrubland.
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/38129/bf_0287.html
http://www.jungledragon.com/image/38131/bf_704.html African Monarch,Bandung,Danaus chrysippus,Geotagged,Indonesia,Java,Spring,West Java,butterfly,milkweed,plain tiger

Evolution

The Plain Tiger breeds throughout the year in India, except in the Himalayas where it is seasonal. This presumably applies in a similar way to the other tropical and subtropical parts of its range too.

;Egg
The female Plain Tiger perches on the upperside of a leaf and, curling its abdomen around the edge, lays an egg on the underside. Only one egg is laid per leaf to avoid overcrowding of the caterpillars. The egg is silvery white, shiny, tall, bullet-shaped with an apical point and ribbed sides.



;Caterpillar
After the caterpillar hatches, its first meal is the eggshell itself. It lives its entire larval life on the lower side of the leaves. During the first few days it has a very interesting manner of feeding: It will take up a spot on the underside of the leaf and nip a complete circle around itself in the lower cuticle of the leaf. By doing this it stops the poisonous sap of its host plant from flowing into the area inside the circle. It then proceeds to eats the lower surface of this area, leaving the upper cuticle intact.

As it grows, it eats both the lower and upper cuticle of the circle thus leaving smallish circular holes in the leaves of its host plant. When its mandibles are large enough it eats the complete leaf by gnawing at the edges.

The caterpillar is uniformly cylindrical. Its body is covered with bands of black and white interspersed with thick, yellow, dorsolateral spots. The most striking characteristics are the 3 pairs of long and black tentacle-like appendages. The first pair is moveable and also the longest. The tentacles are present on the 3rd, 6th and 12th segments. The head is shiny, smooth and has alternating black and white semicircular bands. The legs and prolegs are black and the prolegs have white bands at their bases.

;Pupa
The pupa hangs freely from the support. It is widest at the 7th abdominal segment where it has a double chain of extremely tiny golden and black beads. There are tiny golden spots on the shoulders and wing-cases. The rest of the pupa is pale green with a smooth surface. The pupa is light pink when formed among dry or unnatural objects.

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