Butterflies of Africa
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - ACRAEINAE
Tribe - ACRAEINI
female, Mughese, Malawi
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 ventura is
found in eastern Africa from Ethiopia to Zambia.
usually inhabits open savannah, often in the vicinity of swamps or
rivers, but can also be encountered in forest clearings.
The larval foodplant is Cassia.
Males, as with many other
Acraea species, commonly settle on damp
ground to imbibe mineralised moisture. Females are usually only seen