The Plain Tiger - Danaus chrysippus - Mariposa tigre is a large and easily identified tropical looking butterfly, but it only exists in small isolated pockets in Spain.

Plain Tiger – Danaus chrysippus – Mariposa tigre

  • Family: Danaidae
  • Scientific name: Danaus chrysippus
  • English common names: Plain Tiger, African Monarch
  • Spanish common names: Mariposa tigre, Monarca africana

The Plain Tiger – Danaus chrysippus – Mariposa tigre is a large and easily identified tropical looking butterfly, but it only exists in small isolated pockets in Spain. Perhaps having migrated from Africa or having been brought in as larvae on plant stocks, however there are cases of them completing their biological cycle here.

The Plain Tiger - Danaus chrysippus - Mariposa tigre is a large and easily identified tropical looking butterfly, but it only exists in small isolated pockets in Spain.

They have been recorded from Barcelona to Sevilla, mainly along the coastal areas or more inland near irrigated areas. They will be restricted to where their caterpillar food plants survive.

The upperwings have a ground colour of burnt orange which has a black surround with a broken white band near the tip. The hind under wings are a dull yellow trimmed with a fine black line with white dots. The underside fore wing shares all of these colours. The body of this species is very visible, being black with many pure white spots.

The Plain Tiger - Danaus chrysippus - Mariposa tigre is a large and easily identified tropical looking butterfly, but it only exists in small isolated pockets in Spain.
The Plain Tiger – Danaus chrysippus – Mariposa tigre is a large and easily identified tropical looking butterfly, but it only exists in small isolated pockets in Spain.

The caterpillars of this species are multi striped white, yellow and black. They have 6 very distinctive, upwards pointing, black spines set in 3 pairs.

  • Wing size: 75-90mm
  • Altitude: Limited to warm coastal areas in Spain
  • Flight time: May to October
  • Caterpillar food plant: Asclepias curassavica, Gomphocarpus fruticosus, Calotropis procera, Cynanchum acutum.
  • Distribution: Mediterranean Spain and France, Canary Islands, Italy, Greece, Normally associated with Africa and tropical Asia.

Similar species: Monarch (Danaus plexippus) which has similar colouring but with prominent black veining on both upper and under wings.

Butterflies of Iberia
These are included in the list of butterflies in Andalusia.
Images taken on the Ebro Delta, Spain. (Apart from top image from wikipedia Charles J. Sharp – Trabajo propio, from Sharp Photography, sharpphotography.co.uk, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=65435529)


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