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Plain Tiger Butterfly





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.

52 comments:

  1. Beautiful shots! I love the one that has the camera. Very clever!

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  2. Lovely ! And interesting details there...

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  3. Beautiful! Butterflies are so elegant!

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  4. Lovely butterfly and interesting info.

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  5. The mimicry information is interesting, and the pictures are really nice!!

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  6. What beautiful capture. I love close-ups and the wonderful colors in these photos. Love how you have the camera off to the left photographing the butterfly. Very nice. :)
    Peabea, visiting from Photo Art Friday....

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  7. What a beautiful butterfly and so welcome on a cold, snowy winter day. Fascinating read about this butterfly as well. Thank you for sharing.

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  8. Nothing common about your images, Shiju - nicely done!

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  9. Both beautiful and informative! Thank you.

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  10. it is really beautiful. love the hearts on its wings.

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  11. It is a beautiful butterfly, lovely images! Thank you for linking up to Saturday's Critters. Have a happy weekend!

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  12. this one is in such good shape/condition too; it's not easy to get photos of butterflies I find they shift too quickly

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  13. Butterflies really are one of nature's most amazing creatures, aren't they? Thank you for sharing this glorious picture1
    :-)
    Traci

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  14. Wow..! Stunning and colorful pictures. Thank you for sharing the facts to. Så interessting that some of these fragile creatures can be so old :)

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  15. Beautiful! Who's doing the Pseudo shooting?

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    Replies
    1. Not a pseudo shooting. An enthusiastic photographer photo bombed.

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  16. How beautiful your photos are so clear :-)

    Have a fantastic rest of week

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  17. Just a beautiful shot and the colors are so vibrant

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  18. Beautiful shot. Butterflies are a personal favorite, just wish they were easier to photograph.

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  19. That first photos is a really interesting perspective. Nice shot.

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  20. Love the shots, colors are amazing!!
    Have a nice day!

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  21. Simply gorgeous photo. Thanks for sharing on Wordless Wednesday!

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  22. What an amazing photo! Beautiful creatures :)

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  23. Gorgeous shot!! I love closeups of butterflies. They are quite spectacular to look at and to see in nature.

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  24. I love close up pictures. Such pretty colors. Thanks for sharing.

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  25. That's one good looking butterfly.

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com/2014/02/dogwood-loves-dogs.html

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  26. Beautiful pictures! What am amazing little animal. It's incredible weekday it does to be able to survive against predator attacks.

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  27. What a beautiful butterfly and how lucky it is to be so well protected from adversity. We are so fortunate, in California, to have monarchs flying in great numbers.

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  28. It is not Plain Tiger Butterfly, it's the female Danaid Eggfly which mimics the Plain Tiger.

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    Replies
    1. I am always amazed by the mimics. Thanks for identifying and letting me know.

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