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:
Neck, R.W. 1996. A Field Guide to Butterflies of Texas. Gulf Publishing Co., Houston, Texas. Opler, Paul A. 1999. Peterson Field Guide to Western Butterflies, revised edition. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Stanford, R.E. and P.A. Opler. 1993. Atlas of Western USA Butterflies. Privately published, Denver, Colo. Tilden, J.W. and A.C. Smith. 1986. A Field Guide to Western Butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass. Tveten, J. and Tveten, G. 1996. Butterflies of Houston & Southeast Texas. Univ. of Texas Press, Austin, TX. 292 pp.