Butterflies of Africa
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - ACRAEINAE
Tribe - ACRAEINI
Acraea acrita, male,
There are 228 Acraea
species, of which 223 are Afrotropical in distribution. The majority
found in the forests and savannahs of East Africa, while about 60
are found in West Africa. Beyond Africa a further 5 species occur in
the Oriental region, and another is found in Australia / New Guinea.
In the neotropical region there are 50 additional species, but these
are normally placed in the genera Actinote,
Abananote due to differences in venation and genitalia.
Acraea species have elongate forewings
and rounded hindwings. The wings are thinly scaled and in many
species are semi-transparent. The scales wear off very easily so
that insects more than 4 or 5 days old have a glassy or greasy
appearance. The majority of species have a predominantly brownish or
greyish ground colour, marked with bands or patches of red or
orange. The basal area of the underside hindwings of most species is
marked with a pattern of small black spots.
belongs to the egina clade of species.
It is regarded by Eltringham as a very unstable species on the verge
of becoming divided into several different species. The dry season
form of the male is illustrated above. The wet season form is darker
and more heavily marked, and subject to wide variation in the ground
colour and the extent of the black markings. The female generally
has a duller rufous or coffee-brown ground colour, and has more
is found from Natal to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya.
inhabits scrubby savannah and forest edge habitats.
The larval foodplant is thought to be Adenia
( Passifloraceae ).
Males, as with many other
Acraea species, commonly settle on damp
ground to imbibe mineralised moisture. Females are usually only seen