Butterflies of Africa
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - DANAINAE
Tribe - DANAINI
Bobiri, Ghana ©
The subfamily Danainae comprises of 3 tribes: the neotropical
Ithomiini, the Tellervini of Papua New Guinea, and the Danaini which
have representatives worldwide. The Danaini includes the Monarchs,
Tigers, Nymphs and Crows, comprises of about 190 species in total.
There are 10
species, all confined to the Afrotropical region. They are large
butterflies with blackish-brown upperside, marked with conspicuous
white or cream blotches.
species are toxic to birds. If a bird attacks and tastes an
it instantly vomits and suffers from nausea. Birds quickly learn to
associate the colour and pattern of toxic butterflies with these
unpleasant experiences, and are consequently deterred from attacking
other butterflies of the same species. Several non-toxic butterflies
have taken advantage of this fact, by evolving similar patterns which
fool birds into leaving them alone, e.g. the colour and pattern of
is mimicked by several palatable
Graphium almansor and the female of the
widespread species, found throughout the forested belt of
sub-Saharan Africa from
to Angola, Malawi and Tanzania.
This species is found mainly in open disturbed forest but also
penetrates agricultural areas provided that there are a few thickets
or clumps of mature woodland.
The larval foodplants include various Asclepiadaceae.
Males can often be
seen in groups of 4 or 5 imbibing mineralised moisture from muddy
patches, or sequestering pyrrolizidine alkaloids from broken
Heliotropium roots on logging roads. Both
sexes visit a wide range of flowers but show a strong preference for