Mimic (Hypolimnas misippus [Linnaeus])
Wing span: 2 3/16 - 3 1/2 inches (5.6 - 9 cm).
Identification: Upperside of male is purple-black with a large white patch on each wing. The most common form of the female is orange above; forewing has a black apical area divided by a band of white spots, hindwing has a black marginal band.
Life history: Males perch on or near the ground to watch for receptive females. Caterpillars live and feed communally.
Flight: Two broods from April-May and September-December.
Caterpillar hosts: Various plants in the mallow (Malvaceae), acanthus (Acanthaceae), morning glory (Convolvulaceae), and purslane (Portulacaceae) families.
Adult food: Not reported.
Habitat: Tropical open, weedy areas.
Range: Tropics and subtropics of Asia and Africa. Is now resident on several of the Caribbean Islands, and may have been introduced by slave trading ships. Infrequently wanders to Mississippi, Florida, and North Carolina.
Comments: The orange female mimics an African butterfly Danaus chrysippus.
Conservation: Not required for a rare stray.
The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management needs: None reported.
Opler, P. A. and G. O. Krizek. 1984. Butterflies east of the Great Plains. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 294 pages, 54 color plates. Opler, P. A. and V. Malikul. 1992. A field guide to eastern butterflies. Peterson field guide #4. Houghton-Mifflin Co., Boston. 396 pages, 48 color plates. Scott, J. A. 1986. The butterflies of North America. Stanford University Press, Stanford, Calif. 583 pages, 64 color plates.
Author: Jane M. Struttmann
State and Regional References:
Gerberg, E.J. and Arnett, R.H., Jr. Florida Butterflies. Natural Science Publications, Inc. Baltimore, MD. 90 pp. Kimball, C.P. 1965. Arthropods of Florida and Neighboring Land Areas - Vol. 1: Lepidoptera of Florida. Div. of Plant Industry, State of Florida Dept. of Agriculture. Gainesville, FL. 363 pp. Minno, M.C. and Emmel, T.C. 1993. Butterflies of the Florida Keys. Scientific Publishers. Gainesville, FL. 168 pp. Opler, P.A. 1998. A field guide to eastern butterflies, revised format. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. Smith, D.S., Miller, L.D. and Miller, J.Y. 1994. The Butterflies of the West Indies and South Florida. Oxford Univ. Press. Oxford, U.K. 264 pp.