Acraea encedon

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White-barred acraea
CMA Ilanda L 15 05 2010.JPG
Acraea encedon encedon
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae
Genus: Acraea
Species: A. encedon
Binomial name
Acraea encedon
  • Papilio encedon Linnaeus, 1758
  • Hyalites encedon (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Telchinia encedon (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Papilio encedonia Linnaeus, 1767
  • Papilio lycia Fabricius, 1775
  • Acraea sganzini Boisduval, 1833
  • Acraea lycia var. fulva Doubleday, 1848
  • Acraea daira Godman and Salvin, 1884
  • Acraea braunei Staudinger, 1885
  • Acraea lycia ab. infuscata Staudinger, 1885
  • Acraea usagarae Vuillot, 1891
  • Acraea encedon lycia ab. ascrepticia Strand, 1912
  • Acraea encedon ab. fumosa Aurivillius, 1913
  • Acraea encedon f. commixta Poulton, 1913
  • Acraea encedon f. alcippoides Le Doux, 1923
  • Acraea encedon var. nigeriae Schultze, 1923
  • Acraea encedon f. perradiata Le Cerf, 1927
  • Acraea encedon lycia f. carbonaria Le Cerf, 1927
  • Acraea encedon f. poultoni Le Doux, 1931
  • Acraea encedon f. infuscatoides Le Doux, 1931
  • Acraea encedon f. umbratalcippina Le Doux, 1931
  • Acraea encedon f. lycoides Le Doux, 1931
  • Acraea lycia f. fulvoides Le Doux, 1931
  • Acraea lycia encedonoides Le Doux, 1931
  • Acraea lycia f. aurantiaca Le Doux, 1931

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.


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.


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[edit]

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.



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


  1. ^ "Acraea Fabricius, 1807" at Markku Savela's Lepidoptera and Some Other Life Forms
  2. ^ Afrotropical Butterflies: Nymphalidae - Tribe Acraeini

External links[edit]