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Brief Summary

    Acraea encedon: Brief Summary
    provided by wikipedia

    Acraea encedon, the common acraea, white-barred acraea or encedon acraea, is a butterfly of the family Nymphalidae. It is found in tropical Africa and south-western Arabia. It is one of the species of Acraea sometimes separated in Telchinia.

Comprehensive Description

    Acraea encedon
    provided by wikipedia

    Acraea encedon, the common acraea, white-barred acraea or encedon acraea, is a butterfly of the family Nymphalidae. It is found in tropical Africa and south-western Arabia.[2] It is one of the species of Acraea sometimes separated in Telchinia.

    Description

    The wingspan is 40–50 millimetres (1.6–2.0 in), with the female being slightly larger than the male, but otherwise similar in pattern and colour. The apex of the forewing is blackish and divided by a white bar. The rest of the surface of the wings are usually orange with black spots, however paler varieties with a greyish or yellowish base colour are also found.

    The butterfly is a polymorphic Müllerian mimic of Danaus chrysippus, which is a highly unusual phenomenon as Müllerian mimicry is almost always monomorphic.

    Distribution

    There are two subspecies:

    • Acraea encedon encedon is found in Africa south of the Sahara and in Madagascar. In South Africa this species is absent from the dry western parts of the country, but common in KwaZulu-Natal coastal areas on the eastern side of the country.
    • Acraea encedon rathjensi Le Doux, 1933 is found in south-western Arabia.

    Life cycle

    The eggs are oval in shape. The larvae feed on Commelina species, such as C. diffusa. The flight period of the adults is all year, but they are most common from March to May. They are slow fliers, and perch on low-growing vegetation.

    In some populations there are two kinds of females, one producing offspring in a normal 1:1 sex ratio, the other producing females only. In other populations the sex ratio is apparently normal. Scientists first believed the distorted sex-ratio was caused by a driving W chromosome. Later research suggests it is caused by cytoplasmic bacteria.

    Gallery

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      Acraea encedon from Eritrea; mounted specimen

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      Acraea encedon encedon

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      Larva of Acraea encedon encedon

    Mimicry

    A. encedon is a Müllerian mimic of the butterfly Danaus chrysippus, which is also prevalent in Uganda.

    References

     src= Wikimedia Commons has media related to Acraea encedon.  src= Wikispecies has information related to Acraea encedon
    1. ^ "Acraea Fabricius, 1807" at Markku Savela's Lepidoptera and Some Other Life Forms
    2. ^ Afrotropical Butterflies: Nymphalidae - Tribe Acraeini