Plain Tiger

Danaus chrysippus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Status

Description

A large butterfly with an orangey-brown upperside and a large black tip to the forewing with white markings. The body is unusual in that it is black with white spots.  A unique characteristic which enables positive identification from any other similar European species is a single row of white spots on a black margin on the hindwing, upperside and underside. In Corfu the butterfly should not be confused with any other species. 

Habitat Requirements

A highly migratory species, most frequently encountered along the coast.

Larval Foodplants

Tropical Milkweed Asclepias curassavica and Swan Milkweed Asclepias fruticosa. In Corfu, John Denne, Lynne Williams, Bob Giles, Jan Wilkins and Anne Sordinas have observed oviposition and larval development on Cynanchum acutum subsp acutum.

Observations

Its unlikely that this species is a resident on Corfu, yet. Most sightings of this butterfly start in late August or early September and in good years the highest abundance occurs in mid October. Indications are that this butterfly migrates in groups. If landfall takes place where the host plant adopted on Corfu occurs, courtship, followed by oviposition and the subsequent development of larvae, takes place.

John Denne and Anne Sordinas have both reared these larvae in captivity and have found that the adults emerge towards the very end of the year, in December. In years when the weather is mild, these butterflies may survive but in recent years Corfu has experienced some heavy dumps of snow and at this point the butterflies would not be expected to survive.

The spread of this species further north in the Mediterranean has been monitored by scientists over the last couple of decades and this change in species distribution is considered to be a climate change related phenomena.

*The information provided in the tables below is based on verified sightings of the Plain Tiger submitted via this website since 1st January 2021.

First and Last Sightings

Year First Last/latest # Days
2023 28/09/2023 27/11/2023 60 days
2022 26/08/2022 08/10/2022 43 days
2021 11/09/2021 20/11/2021 70 days

Number of Observations

Year Number of observations
2023 669
2022 9
2021 13
Grand Total 691

Distribution Map

Distribution maps for this species are currently unavailable.

Flight Times for the Plain Tiger (2023)

The chart below shows flight data by month for 2023

Flight Times for the Plain Tiger (All Data)

The chart below shows flight data by month since 1st January 2021

Taxonomy

  • Vernacular/Common Name: Plain Tiger
  • Family: Nymphalidae (Rafinesque, 1815)
  • Sub-family: Danainae (Boisduval 1833)
  • Tribe: Danaini (Boisduval 1833)
  • Genus: Danaus (Kluk, 1780)
  • Species: chrysippus (Linnaeus, 1758)

References

For a list of references, please see our bibliography page.