Common Tiger (Danaus genutia)
The Tiger Butterfly is a species of highly common butterflies of the Indian subcontinent. The evolutionary relationships of this butterfly have not yet been resolved completely, and it has some 16 subspecies all belonging to the “crows and tigers” group under the common brush-footed butterfly family.
Description and Identification
The young caterpillar has a length of about 2.6 mm with a pure to pale white body, and several short, black setae, a large black head, and a small black patch at the posterior end. It takes about three days for the eggs to hatch and the larva to emerge. As they age, they develop black to purplish black ring markings, dots, and bright yellow spots and with pairs of horn-like protrusions on the head, back, and the posterior end.
- Family: Nymphalidae
- Genus: Danaus
- Common names: Tiger Butterfly, Striped Tiger (India)
- Scientific Name: Danaus genutia
The chrysalis is bright green in color and has a barrel shape. They remain suspended from the underside of the leaves of the host plants by silk pad, but without any supporting silk girdle. The length of the pupa is around 19-21 mm.
Sexual Dimorphism: Not distinctly present
Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, both the male and the female display a tannish orange to tawny coloration with venation running across forming broad black bands. The males possess a pouch on each of the secondary wings (which the females lack). The borders of the wings are jet black dotted with two rows of white spots. When the wings are closed, the underside exhibits an exact but paler version of the upper side. The males also have a distinct black-and-white spot on the ventral side of the secondary wing.
Average wingspan: 7 to 95 mm (0.28 to 3.74 in) (varies with subspecies)
Flight pattern: Powerful flier with strong strokes, but flies at a slow pace, rather close to the ground level
Milky white in color with a ribbed surface and shapes like a rugby ball, laid singly on the host plant’s leaves, typically on the underside
|Distribution||Throughout India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and extending to South-East Asia, and also in Australia (except New Guinea)|
|Habitat||Prefers areas of moderate to heavy rainfall, scrub jungles, fallow lands, both dry and moist deciduous forests|
|Lifespan of adults||Varies locally with subspecies|
|Host plants||Cynanchum ovalifolium, Cynanchum tunicatum (Apocynaceae)|
|Adult diet||Flower nectar|
Did You Know?
- The caterpillar forms a poison in its body by consuming poisonous plants, thus making itself and its imago a distasteful morsel for predators.