Acraea esebria

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Dusky acraea
DA W Ilanda UFP 13 05 2010.JPG
Acraea esebria form monteironis
Dusky Acraea mating 06 02 2011.JPG
Orange form male mating with female of another colour form
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae
Tribe: Acraeini
Genus: Acraea
Species: A. esebria
Binomial name
Acraea esebria
Hewitson, 1861
  • Telchinia esebria (Hewitson, 1861)
  • Planema jacksoni Sharpe, 1890
  • Acraea (Actinote) esebria
  • Acraea protea Trimen, 1862
  • Planema metaprotea Butler, 1874
  • Planema monteironis Butler, 1874
  • Planema arctifascia Butler, 1874
  • Planema pseudoprotea Butler, 1874
  • Planema amphiprotea Butler, 1874
  • Planema jacksoni Sharpe, 1890
  • Acraea ertli Aurivillius, 1904
  • Acraea esebria f. nubilata Eltringham, 1912
  • Acraea jodutta f. inaureata Eltringham, 1912
  • Acraea esebria f. kibwezia Strand, 1913
  • Acraea esebria var. actinotis Neustetter, 1916
  • Acraea esebria f. swynnertoni O'Neal, 1919
  • Acraea esebria f. victoris Poulton, 1927
  • Acraea esebria f. flavibrunnea Stoneham, 1943
  • Acraea esebria f. pallidibrunnea Stoneham, 1943

Acraea esebria, the dusky acraea, is a butterfly of the Nymphalidae family from southern and eastern Africa.

Side view of mating pair


The dusky acraea is a variable species, but the most common form is black with a white band across the forewing and a white patch on the lower forewing and on the hindwing.[1] There are a number of described morphs (with white, yellow or orange patches) including:

  • f. ertli
  • f. esebria
  • f. protea (black with creamy-yellow patches)
  • f. monteironis (black with white patches)
  • f. jacksoni

The wingspan is 45–55 mm for males and 53–60 mm for females. Males and females both show the same range of colouration.[1]


This species is found from the Eastern Cape of South Africa to Zimbabwe and in Mozambique,[1] Malawi, Zambia, southern Democratic Republic of the Congo (Shaba), Angola, Tanzania and eastern Kenya (east of the Rift Valley).

Life cycle[edit]


The eggs are oval in shape.[2]


The larvae feed on Urtica, Laportea peduncularis, Urera trinervis, Urera hypselodendron, Obetia tenax, Pouzolzia procridioides, Pouzolzia parasitica and Fleurya mitis.[3]


Adults are on wing year round but are more common in the warmer months,[3] from December to April.[1] These butterflies fly slowly in and around forests and feed from flowers.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e Williams, M. (1994). Butterflies of Southern Africa: A Field Guide. Southern Book Publishers. ISBN 1-86812-516-5.
  2. ^ Woodhall, S. (2008). What's that Butterfly?. Struik Publishers, Cape Town. ISBN 978-1-77007-486-6.
  3. ^ a b Woodhall, Steve (2005). Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa. Cape Town, South Africa: Struik. ISBN 978-1-86872-724-7. 

External links[edit]