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Common Tiger (Danaus genutia)

The Common Tiger Butterfly, scientifically known as Danaus genutia, is a vibrant and widely recognized species within the Indian subcontinent. Its rich palette and striking patterns not only captivate the eyes but also play a crucial role in the ecological tapestry of its habitat. This species, belonging to the “crows and tigers” group within the common brush-footed butterfly family, showcases a remarkable example of nature’s artistry and evolutionary wonder.

Common Tiger

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Nymphalidae
  • Genus: Danaus
  • Common names: Tiger Butterfly
  • Scientific Name: Danaus genutia


Despite its widespread presence and the familiarity it holds among enthusiasts and researchers alike, the Common Tiger Butterfly’s evolutionary journey remains a topic of ongoing study. With around 16 subspecies, this butterfly’s diverse adaptations and geographical spread illustrate a fascinating tale of survival and ecological balance. Its lifecycle—from egg to caterpillar, pupa, and finally, to the winged adult—offers a glimpse into the complexity and beauty of nature’s processes.

Description and Identification

CaterpillarCommon Tiger Butterfly Caterpillar

The journey of the Common Tiger Butterfly begins with the hatching of an egg into a young caterpillar, measuring approximately 2.6 mm. Initially, these caterpillars boast a pale white body adorned with short, black setae, a distinctive black head, and a patch at the posterior end. Within three days, the eggs hatch, revealing the larva, which gradually develops dark ring markings, dots, and yellow spots, alongside horn-like protrusions, as it matures.

PupaCommon Tiger Pupa

Transitioning into pupation, the chrysalis presents a bright green, barrel-shaped form, suspended under leaves without a silk girdle, a testament to its vulnerability and the intricate balance of its ecosystem. This stage lasts until the butterfly emerges, ready to showcase its colors to the world.

Adult Butterfly

The adult stage reveals the full splendor of the Common Tiger Butterfly. Although sexual dimorphism is not prominently observed, subtle differences exist. Both males and females display a tannish orange hue across their wings, marked by broad black bands and dotted borders. A notable feature is the males’ pouch on the secondary wings, absent in females. The underside of the wings mirrors the upper side’s pattern but in a paler tone, with males sporting a distinct spot on the ventral side.

Sexual Dimorphism: Subtle, with specific differences in wing features between males and females.

Color and Appearance: A vibrant display of tannish orange, accented with black bands and white spots.

Striped Tiger ButterflyDanaus genutiaAverage Wingspan: Ranges from 7 to 95 mm (0.27 – 3.74 in), varying across subspecies.

Flight Pattern: Characterized by strong, deliberate strokes, maintaining a slow, low-altitude flight.


The lifecycle begins anew with the laying of milky white, ribbed eggs, resembling a rugby ball, placed singularly on the underside of host plant leaves.

Quick Facts

DistributionSpans across India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Southeast Asia, and Australia (excluding New Guinea).
HabitatThrives in areas with moderate to heavy rainfall, including scrub jungles, fallow lands, and deciduous forests.
Lifespan of AdultsVaries with local conditions and subspecies.
Host PlantsPrefers Cynanchum ovalifolium and Cynanchum tunicatum from the Apocynaceae family.
Adult DietPrimarily consists of flower nectar.

How to Identify Common Tiger Butterfly?

Identifying the Common Tiger Butterfly amidst the plethora of butterfly species requires keen observation. The key lies in its distinctive coloration and patterns. Look for the tannish orange wings framed with broad black bands and rows of white dots, a hallmark of this species. The presence of a pouch on the males’ secondary wings and the specific black-and-white spot beneath are also telltale signs. Their flight, powerful yet graceful, close to the ground, further aids in their identification. Observing these butterflies in their natural habitat, among the lush greens or fluttering near flowers, provides not only a visual treat but also a connection to the intricate web of life they are part of.

Did You Know?

  • The caterpillar stage of the Common Tiger Butterfly incorporates a unique defense mechanism by ingesting poisonous plants, turning itself into a less appealing choice for predators. This strategy not only protects the caterpillar but also the adult butterfly, highlighting nature’s intricate defense systems.
  • Another fascinating aspect is the butterfly’s role in pollination. By transferring pollen from one flower to another in their search for nectar, they contribute significantly to the reproduction of various plant species, underscoring the butterfly’s critical role in ecosystem health and biodiversity.


The Common Tiger Butterfly is not just a visual marvel but a symbol of ecological balance and the interconnectedness of life. Through its lifecycle, it reminds us of the delicate balance of nature and our role in preserving it. Understanding and appreciating this butterfly’s beauty and ecological role can inspire a deeper commitment to conserving the natural world for future generations to marvel at and learn from.

Common Tiger Butterfly Pictures

Tiger Butterfly
Common Tiger Butterfly
Common Tiger Butterfly Host Plant
Common Tiger Images
Common Tiger Photos
Common Tiger Pictures

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Scientific Classification

  • Family: Nymphalidae
  • Genus: Danaus
  • Common names: Tiger Butterfly
  • Scientific Name: Danaus genutia
Published by Avatar on March 13, 2019.
Last Updated: March 10, 2024. ✅ Verified by: Butterfly Team