Butterflies and Moths of Sri Lanka


Family Danaidae Milkweed butterflies / Tigers and Crows

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Some authors try to classify this family as a subfamily of Nymphalidae but from the tradition it was consider as a separate family. I still as many other authors accept the traditional classification of Danaidae as a separate family. This separation is based on,

  • similarity of early stages
  • similar habits and
  • poisonous nature.

Featurs of Family Danaidae

1. Small to Large size butterflies. Most are not brightly coloured

2. Forelegs modified in to brushes and are not suited for walking

3. Sex marks appear on the wings of most males,

  • either as patches on the hindwing
  • or one or two brands on the forewing
  • or with sex brand patches on either fore or hind wing.
  • in some Euploea males the dorsum of forewing bowed and in females it is straight

4. Most danaidae males have one or two pair of anal hair of pencils

5. Most of the members are model of 'mimetic' butterfly species of other families.

  Blue Tiger  
  Picture 02. - Appias sp aggregate on wet soil for mud sipping / mud puddling.Picture was taken at the riverbank of Kluganga - Pallegama (Knuckels range).  

6. Poisonance and left alone by birds and other natural predators. Caterpillars feed on milkweeds store glycosides which make these species poisonous and emetic to many parasitoids and predators.

7. Danaids are extremly tuff and hard to kill

8. Take part in migration

9. Food plants belong to Asclepiadaceae, Apocynaceae, and Moraceae.


Family Danaidae in Sri Lanka

There are 12 species in Sri Lanka with two endemic species

Table. Number of Species from each genus

Genus Group
Number of Species
Euploea Crows
Danaus Tigers
Idea Tree Nymph
Ideopsis Tigers
Tirumala Tigers
Parantica Tigers

Species Account

>>> Click here



Class: Insecta

Order: Lepidoptera

Sub-order: Ditrysia

Super Family: Papilionoidea

Family: Danaidae

male Scent patch
  Picture 01. Male Scent Patch
Female has no Scent patch
Picture 02. Female has no such Scent Patch
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Danaidae   Satyridae   Nymphalidae   Pieridae   Lycaenidae   Papilionidae   Hesperiidae  Other   << PREVIOUS || NEXT >>

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