Acraea serena, the dancing acraea, is a butterfly of the Nymphalidae family. It is found in South Africa, including the area near the Waterberg Biosphere. But it is found also in the whole Africa south of the Sahara. It is the most common of the Acraea, from Dakar to Fort-Dauphin, from Yemen to the Cape.
This is the type species of the old genus Telchinia, which may warrant re-separation from Acraea. Formerly, A. serena was often misidentified as Acraea eponina (small orange acraea) or Acraea terpsicore (tawny coaster).
It is very likely that the butterfly's black-spotted orange markings are a sign of unpalatability and it may well form part of a mimicry ring with Erikssonia edgei.
Taxonomy of Acraea manjaca Boisduval
Acraea manjaca from Madagascar, now considered to be conspecific with Acraea serena, has a complex taxonomic history which illustrates the problems in interpreting the genus as a whole. Here is an account of how Acraea manjaca was placed by different authors.
Boisduval notes the proximity with eponina Cramer in his original description of 1833. Doubleday (1848) treats manjaca as a good species (1848) but Guerin (1849) places manjaca in synonymy with serena Fabricius, which was confirmed by Trimen (1862) and Mabille (1886). Aurivillius (1898) considers that manjaca Boisduval is a variety of Fabricius' serena which had, in turn, been put in synonymy with terpsicore Linnaeus by Butler (1894), and which then was thought to be eponina Cramer (Le Doux, 1928, Carcasson, 1961). Eltringham (1912, 1916) considers manjaca Boisduval to be a synonym of rougeti Guérin (Acraea serena). Le Doux (1928) reinstated manjaca as good subspecies of eponina. Van Son (1963) considers manjaca to be a simple form.
Male A. s. serena
- Acraea manjaca at Le Site des Acraea de Dominique Bernaud
- Images representing Acraea serena at Bold.
- Die Gross-Schmetterlinge der Erde 13: Die Afrikanischen Tagfalter. Plate XIII 56 a var. rougeti
- Acraea serena at Pteron
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