Protogoniomorpha parhassus

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Forest mother-of-pearl
Forest Mother-of-pearl on flower.jpg
possibly P. p. aethiops
Forest mother-of-pearl (Protogoniomorpha parhassus parhassus) underside.jpg
P. p. parhassus, Ghana
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae
Genus: Protogoniomorpha
Species: P. parhassus
Binomial name
Protogoniomorpha parhassus
(Drury, 1782)[1]
  • Papilio parhassus Drury, 1782
  • Salamis parhassus
  • Papilio aethiops Palisot de Beauvais, 1805
  • Vanessa aglatonice Godart, 1819
  • Salamis parhassus aethiops f. aest. modestus Overlaet, 1955
  • Salamis parhassus f. pyricolor Stoneham, 1965

Protogoniomorpha parhassus, the forest mother-of-pearl[1] or common mother-of-pearl,[2][3] is a species of Nymphalidae butterfly found in forested areas of Africa.



The following description is for P. p. aethiops: A large butterfly;[3] the wingspan is 65–80 mm for males and 75–90 mm for females.[2] The male and female are similar in colour and pattern.[3] The base colour of the upper surface of the wings is greenish white with a violet sheen in the wet-season form, and pearly white in the dry-season form.[3] The forewing has a black-tipped, hooked apex. The wings have a few red eyespots which are ringed with black. There are black spots near the margins of both the forewings and hindwings. The underside of the wings has a greenish-white base colour, with eyespots corresponding to those on the upper surface.

Life cycle[edit]


This species lays tiny eggs similar to those of Junonia and Precis species.[5]


The larvae are similar to those of Junonia and Precis species, but larger.[5] They feed on Asystasia (A. gangetica[3]), Brillantaisia, Isoglossa (I. woodii[3] and I. mossambicensis [6]), Mimulopsis, and Paulowilhelmia species.[1][2]


The pupae are similar to those of Junonia and Precis species, but larger.[5]


The flight period of the adults is year round, peaking in summer and autumn.[2] They have a "ponderous, flapping flight which can be quite fast".[3] The males may perch on the leaves of forest trees, while the females stay closer to the ground near the larval food plants.[3] These butterflies roost under leaves at night, and the males sometimes mud-puddle.[3]



  1. ^ a b c "Salamis Boisduval, 1833" at Markku Savela's Lepidoptera and Some Other Life Forms
  2. ^ a b c d Woodhall, Steve (2005). Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa. Cape Town, South Africa: Struik. ISBN 978-1-86872-724-7.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Williams, M. (1994). Butterflies of Southern Africa; A Field Guide. ISBN 1-86812-516-5.
  4. ^ a b Markku Sevala's pages:, retrieved 31 July 2010.
  5. ^ a b c Woodhall, S. (2008). What's that Butterfly?. Cape Town: Struik Publishers. ISBN 978-1-77007-486-6.
  6. ^ Dickson, C.G.C (ed.), Kroon, D.M.; Pennington's Butterflies of Southern Africa; AD. DONKER 1978