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The Plain Tiger, Danaus chrysippus

Plain Tiger

The Plain Tiger, also known as the African Monarch, is a common butterfly that is widespread across Africa, Asia and southern Europe.

The upperside of the wings are a tawny colour with a black forewing, black wing margins, and white spots. The thorax is black with white spots and the abdomen is a tawny brown colour. Males are usually smaller than females and may be more brightly coloured. The wingspan is about 7-8 cm.

Like Monarch butterflies, Plain Tigers are in the genus Danaus also know as the milkweed butterflies. The larval host plants of the Plain Tiger are in the subfamily Asclepiadoideae. The caterpillar and the butterfly are protected from predators due to the alkaloids that they aquire from the plants that they eat. Plain Tigers will often fly slowly while close to the ground in a straight line so that predators can recognize their bright warning colouration easily and avoid eating them. This protective advantage has led to numerous mimics. Many edible butterflies (namely; The Red Lacewing (Cethosia cyane), and the Danaid Eggfly (Hypolimnas misippus)) resemble the Plain Tiger so that they too can be protected from predators.

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