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Plain Tiger or African Monarch


Binomial Name: Danaus chrysippus

Plain Tiger or African Monarch, is a common non-edible butterfly which is widespread in Asia and Africa.

The Plain Tiger is believed to be one of the first butterflies to be used in art. A 3500 year old Egyptian fresco in Luxor features the oldest illustration of this species.


The Plain Tiger is protected from attacks due to the unpalatable alkaloids ingested during the larval stages. The butterfly therefore flies slowly and leisurely, generally close to the ground and in a straight line. This gives a would-be predator ample time to recognise and avoid attacking it. Inexperienced predators will try attacking it, but will learn soon enough to avoid this butterfly as the alkaloids in its body cause vomiting.

The butterfly also has a tough, leathery skin to survive such occasional attacks. When attacked it fakes death and oozes nauseating liquid which makes it smell and taste terrible. This encourages the predator to release the butterfly quickly. The Plain Tiger thus has the ability to recover "miraculously" from predator attacks that would kill most other butterflies.

The protection mechanisms of the Plain Tiger, as of the other danaines, and indeed of all colorful unpalatable butterflies, result in predators learning this memorable aspect at first hand. Predators soon associate the patterns and habits of such butterfly species with unpalatability to avoid hunting them in future.

This advantage of protection has led to a number of edible butterfly species, referred to as "mimics", evolving to resemble inedible butterflies, which are referred to as the "model". The resemblance is not only in color, shapes, and markings, but also in behavioural and flight patterns. This form of mimicry - where an edible species mimics an inedible species - is known as Batesian mimicry.


More information.

56 comments:

  1. Beautiful photograph. So clear and bright.

    Rhonda @Laugh-Quotes.com

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  2. gorgeous
    http://www.nycsinglemom.com/2013/04/22/kaws-companion-passing-through/

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  3. What a great shot! Amazing colors!

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  4. Your photo is lovely and I appreciate the information on the butterfly, too.

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  5. So beautiful, Shiju!
    Love those colors...
    Warm greetings from Holland,
    Anna

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  6. Truly Beautiful, Awesome colours.

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  7. Just lovely! The colors are captured perfectly.
    http://royalegacy.blogspot.com/2013/04/wordless-wednesday-spring-in-high.html

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  8. Gorgeous picture, I love the colors.
    Thanks for linking up to my hop.

    Have a beautiful week.

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  9. How gorgeous! Happy WW. I played too. Mine are here and here.

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  10. In addition to a wonderful photograph this time, you've done a superb job of educating us. Not that I would ever eat a beautiful butterfly but I am glad that God ( or the gods ) endowed them with protection to keep them from ending up in the food chain.

    You are the best.

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    Replies
    1. Not god. Darwin's theory of evolution is at play here.

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  11. Absolutely gorgeous! So many beautiful gifts in nature....

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  12. Beautiful focus, dare I say tasteful?

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  13. very pretty. looks & sounds very much like our N.American Monarch.

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  14. How wonderful it would be to see butterflies around here like this. So very pretty.

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  15. Wow, that is beautiful...and very interesting!

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  16. Oh my that is a lovely shot. The color contrast is amazing.

    Thanks for linking and happy WW.

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  17. Super job on getting the butterfly to pose.
    JM Illinois
    U.S.A.

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  18. What a gorgeous and SHARP photo! Beautiful bright colors also!

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  19. I have honestly never considered butterflies in terms of eatable or non-eatable. This one is simply beautiful.

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  20. Gorgeous! The patterns on the wings are beautiful.

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  21. Lovely butterfly.
    Best whises.
    Mormor

    http://www.starbear.no/mormor/2013/04/25/nf-winged-85/

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  22. Stunning photograph! I love the clarity.

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  23. Hmmmm....would that form of defense considered passive aggressive? Beautiful capture as always. Magnificent display of color.

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  24. Absolutely beautiful photograph but a little off them for Friday Shoot Out theme which is "Sweets." I am the spotlighter this week and must choose photos on theme according to the guidelines of the administration. Keep shooting because you are a great photographer.
    QMM

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  25. Thanks for joining me in the Wordless Wednesday Bloggers. And remember, while silence may be golden on WWB, the weekend was made to be enjoyed :-)

    Jennifer
    thejennyevolution.com

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  26. Wonderful picture and thank you for sharing your research.

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  27. I love your butterfly pictures.

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  28. I am so happy that I had some time to pop over here today and see what you shared! It is great to finally be able to flaunt some of my own spring blessings and get inspired by some of the best gardens online!
    Thank you so much for joining in on my little party this week! I hope to see you again soon! Have a great weekend!
    Your post today has been shared to the Tootsie Time Facebook page!

    (¯`v´¯)
    `*.¸.*´Glenda/Tootsie
    ¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`•.

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  29. A brilliant shot and very interesting post. Thank you for sharing at our ready-to-waltz party :)

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  30. Beautiful picture and great proof of Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest r most intelligent like the mimicking butterflies.

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  31. Thank you for sharing this very interesting post. Your photo is beautiful!

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  32. Stunning detail and color! Great information too! Thank you for sharing and for linking up with Tones on Tuesday!

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  33. That looks a little like our monarch butterfly, but I really love the differences!!!

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  34. that is a vivid and clear capture of the famous monarch!

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  35. Your photos are always spectacular and this Monarch just really excels.

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  36. Wow, what an amazing creature. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful photo and interesting information.

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