top of page
Butterfly populations are a very good indicator of the health of an area's ecosystem !!
Image contributed by UK
photographer Pamela Vinton
Also known as the Dappled Monarch butterfly.
Tirumala petiverana are members of the Crows and Tigers (Danald) Group of butterflies.
There are 10 species in the genus Tirumala. The genus is centred on the Oriental region although one species hamata has a range extending from Arabia to Australia. There are two African species, formosa and petiverana.
All Tirumala species are toxic to birds.
If a bird attacks and tastes a Tirumala it will quickly vomit and suffers from nausea.
Birds quickly learn to associate the color 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 avoiding them. (The color and pattern of Tirumala petiverana are mimicked by at least two palatable species, the Veined Swallowtail Graphium leonidas and the Forest Queen Euxanthe. (This color and pattern similarity to avoid predation is called Batesean Mimicry).
African Blue Tiger wings show a pattern of large and small blue spots. Smaller blue spots are mostly specific to the forewing and hindwing margins. Its body shows a mostly black color with blue bands and stripes. Black and blue colors are also specific to its forewings and hindwings.
They can be found in many habitats including Acacia scrub, dry woodlands, and clearings in rainforests.
These habitats also consist of Afromontane, lowland and riverine forests as well as moist savanna.
They are usually encountered singly or in two's and three's, and have a slow undulating flight.
They patrol flowery areas with fairly shallow, deliberate wing beats.
Ironically, there is one generation per year.
Adults are on wing from February to May, with peaks in April.
Diet: caterpillars feed on Pergularia extensa, Pergularia daemia, Daemia, Hoya, and Marsdenia rubicunda
Avg. Wingspan: 60 – 75 cm / 2.3 - 2.95"
The single biggest threat to butterfly survival is habitat destruction!!
bottom of page