Butterflies of Africa
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - ACRAEINAE
Tribe - ACRAEINI
Falls, Ghana / Togo border
© Adrian Hoskins
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,
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.
Acraea perenna is
widely distributed, being found throughout most of sub-Saharan
Africa with the exceptions of South Africa and Madagascar.
This species occurs in localised populations in relatively open or
degraded forest, and can be found in forest-edge habitats including
along wide logging roads.
foodplants include Olobopetalum (
Menispermaceae ), Bridelia (
Euphorbiaceae ), Adenia( Passifloraceae
) and Mikania ( Asteraceae ).
are usually seen singly, imbibing mineralised moisture from muddy or
damp stony ground, including at patches of urine. If disturbed they
take readily to the air, and have a graceful flight. After a few
minutes they usually return to the same spot. They often will feed
with their wings held erect, at which time they are superbly
camouflaged against stony substrates. In cool or cloudy conditions
they bask with the forewings swept back and slightly raised.
perenna, Wli Falls,
Ghana / Togo border
© Adrian Hoskins