Guadeloupe, Piton de Ste-Rose, 3-XI-1985.

Female, form inaria

Guadeloupe, Bouillante, Crête de Village, 28-IX-1965 (coll. INRA Petit-Bourg).

Hypolimnas misippus (Linnaeus, 1764)

Nymphalidae Nymphalinae


Biology and distribution

Polyphagous larva, frequently found on Portulaca (Portulacaceae), Ipomoea (Convolvulaceae) and several Malvaceae.

This species comes from the Old World, where females are mimics of the African Monarch, Danaus chrysippus (Linnaeus). It may have been introduced via the slave trade, H. misippus is probably not a permanent resident in all islands where it has been observed.

Rare and sporadic in Guadeloupe and Martinique.
Marie-Galante, les Saintes (Pinchon & Enrico).

Antigua, Dominica, St-Lucia, Barbados, St-Vincent.
Throughout the Greater Antilles, but rare.

Guyanas, Venezuela, Florida.
Tropical zones of the Old World.


Female polymorphism

Females of Hypolimnas misippus show a remarkable polymorphism whereas the males are monomorphic. All four female morphs are mimics of morphs of Danaus chrysippus, and genetics of female forms, male preferences and survival capabilities have been studied in Africa (review in D.A.S. Smith, in The Biology of Butterflies, 1984, R.I. Vane-Wright & P.R. Ackery eds, Academic Press, London). Two female forms only occur in tropical America, f. misippus and f. inaria (Cramer), the latter being very rare according to Riley. In Guadeloupe, f. inaria seems to be not so rare (the ratio misippus/inaria is 4/1 in Africa).

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