De rerum: an acknowlegement and explanation.
INDEX: Linnaean

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Acraea petraea

The Blood-red Acraea.
We had a Xylotheca kraussiana (African Dog Rose) in our garden. It proved a great atraction for this butterfly, and an opportunity to follow its life cycle. In certain seasons, eggs would be laid in large numbers, in groups on the upper sides of the leaves. Most of these would hatch, the larvae ravaging the tree. Only a small proportion advanced to the pupa stage, and even fewer of these survived to an emerging butterfly.
Interestingly, nearly all the females were were the same blood red colour as the male. I have a single record of the brown form. The females can be told by the all black background colour of the abdomen and a white sub-apical band. The male lacks that band, and, like some other acraeas, has an orange posterior abdomen together with anal claspers.

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