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Butterflies of Africa
White Acraea
Acraea circeis  DRURY, 1782
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - ACRAEINAE
Tribe - ACRAEINI
Acraea circeis, Aburi, Ghana Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
There are 228 Acraea species, of which 223 are Afrotropical in distribution. The majority are 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, Altinote and Abananote due to differences in venation and genitalia.
All 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. Acraea circeis is unusual in having white bands instead.
Acraea circeis is distributed from Sierra Leone to Congo and northern Angola.
Habitats
This species inhabits open or degraded forest, and can also be seen in arboretums and parks.
Lifecycle
The larval foodplant is Urera ( Urticaceae ).
Adult behaviour

Often several males can be seen flying around a particular bush or tree. e.g. in December 2010 at Aburi in Ghana I watched a swarm of about 20 males engaging in territorial battles around a small tree. Males will intercept any other butterfly species, and also bees and wasps, as well as their own species. Both sexes nectar at flowering bushes and shrubs.

Acraea circeis, Bobiri, Ghana Adrian Hoskins

 

 

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