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Plain Tiger

Plain Tiger
Photo Information
Copyright: Greg Hume (greghume) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 212 W: 72 N: 575] (2160)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-05-31
Categories: Insects
Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50, Leica 35-430
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-09-04 7:02
Viewed: 3455
Points: 12
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Superfamily: Papilionoidea
Family: Nymphalidae
Subfamily: Danainae
Tribe: Danaini
Genus: Danaus
Species: D. chrysippus

The Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus) is a common butterfly widespread in Asia and Africa. It belongs to the Danainae ("Milkweed butterflies") subfamily of the brush-footed butterfly family, Nymphalidae.
It is believed to be one of the first butterflies to be used in art. A 3500 year old Egyptian fresco in Luxor features the oldest illustration of this species.
The Plain Tiger can be considered the archetypical danaine of India and has been studied with in greater detail than other members of its subfamily occurring in India.
It is found in every kind of terrain from desert to mountain elevations up to 9000 feet, but is primarily a butterfly of open country and gardens.
This butterfly is perhaps the commonest of Indian butterflies and is a familiar sight to practically everyone on the subcontinent. It flies from dawn to dusk, frequenting gardens, sipping from flowers and, late in the day, fluttering low over bushes to find a resting place for the night.
As usual for diurnal butterflies, this species rests with its wings closed. When basking it sits close to the ground and spreads its wings with its back to the sun so that the wings are fully exposed to the sun's rays.
The Plain Tiger is protected from attacks due to the unpalatable alkaloids ingested during the larval stages. The butterfly therefore flies slowly and leisurely, generally close to the ground and in a straight line. This gives a would-be predator ample time to recognise and avoid attacking it. Inexperienced predators will try attacking it, but will learn soon enough to avoid this butterfly as the alkoloids in its body cause vomiting.
The butterfly also has a tough, leathery skin to survive such occasional attacks. When attacked it fakes death and oozes nauseating liquid which makes it smell and taste terrible. This encourages the predator to release the butterfly quickly. The Plain Tiger thus has the ability to recover "miraculously" from predator attacks that would kill most other butterflies.
The Plain Tiger breeds throughout the year in India, except in the Himalayas where it is seasonal. This presumably applies in a similar way to the other tropical and subtropical parts of its range too.
The female Plain Tiger perches on the upperside of a leaf and, curling its abdomen around the edge, lays an egg on the underside. Only one egg is laid per leaf to avoid overcrowding of the caterpillars. The egg is silvery white, shiny, tall, bullet-shaped with an apical point and ribbed sides.
After the caterpillar hatches, its first meal is the eggshell itself. It lives its entire larval life on the lower side of the leaves. During the first few days it has a very interesting manner of feeding: It will take up a spot on the underside of the leaf and nip a complete circle around itself in the lower cuticle of the leaf. By doing this it stops the poisonous sap of its host plant from flowing into the area inside the circle. It then proceeds to eats the lower surface of this area, leaving the upper cuticle intact.
As it grows, it eats both the lower and upper cuticle of the circle thus leaving smallish circular holes in the leaves of its host plant. When its mandibles are large enough it eats the complete leaf by gnawing at the edges.
Taken at Krohn Conservatory in Cincinnati.

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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Greg
great macro with wonderful details on this Plain Tiger, fine colors and splendid sharpness. Focusing is perfect.

  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2009-09-04 12:38]

Hello Greg
Wonderful capture with vivid colors and excellent details

Hi Greg,

Excellent POV in upper vertical, it make a butterfly whith perfect details of sturcture. Excellnt colors an superb ligth balance. Impressive result of found whith F/5.6, I can't archive similars whith same F values, usually I need around 3.2 o 2.8 for similar founds!... Well done! You're handled the FZ50 whith a professional touch!



  • Great 
  • john1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 122 W: 0 N: 439] (3410)
  • [2009-09-04 12:48]

Hi Greg,

Wonderfull capture of the butterfly.
Excellent details of the wings and colors.
Good sharpness and focus.
have a good week end.

  • Great 
  • Alutka Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 131 W: 43 N: 400] (1682)
  • [2009-09-05 11:13]

very impressive shot, excellent capture, the details are amazing, great POV , DOF and composition.
TFS and best wishes

Ciao Greg. Interesting diagonal pos and good light to exalta the fabolouse colours of this handsome butterfly. Good details on wings texture.

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