Identification Guide: Hypolimnas misippus / Danaus chrysippus Mimicry Ring

Females of Hypolimnas misippus are excellent mimics of the aposematic Danaus chrysippus, even so far as mimicking the latter's various forms/subspecies. At first glance, it can be quite difficult to differentiate the model from the mimic, but with a bit of close study a number of differences can be noted, many subtle, others more significant.

Key Differences

  1. Dorsal Forewing, white apical markings: In Hypolimnas misippus these tend to be wider and form a continuous band. Furthermore, H. misippus has, at the very apex of the FW, a small but noticeable white patch that is absent in D. chrysippus.
  2. Dorsal Forewing, costa (leading edge): In Hypolimnas misippus the FW costa is heavily black, with black invading the cell for most of it's length down towards the base. In Danaus chrysippus, the costal margin is black, but very little black crosses into the cell.
  3. Dorsal Hindwing, spots: Hypolimnas misippus's hindwing features a single spot located at the costa. Danaus chrysippus's hindwing features 3 spots situated along the end of the cell. In males, a fourth spot (formed of androconial scales) is also present.
  4. Ventral surface, margin: Also visible, sometimes to a lesser extent, on the dorsal surface, there is a marked difference in the marginal pattern between the two species. In D. chrysippus the margin features a single row of spots, while in H. misippus the margin is 2 rows deep.
  5. Ventral Hindwing spots: Unlike on the dorsal surface, Hypolimnas misippus's ventral hindwing features 2 spots, one at the costa, and one at the base of space 5. Danaus chrysippus's pattern of spots remains unchanged.
Posted on מאי 05, 2019 01:19 אחה"צ by cabintom cabintom


Only today I discovered your very helpful compilations on Phalanta and Hypolimnas misippus / Danaus chrysippus in your profile. Identification is still possible even with poor quality images. Thank you for this tool. It is interesting for me with provisions on a next trip to Grande Comore, hopefully (Corona!) In October, where Hypolimnas misippus / Danaus chrysippus occur together. I had never been able to document so many butterflies on a trip to the Comoros two months ago. I published my travel observations for the first time at iNaturalist.

פורסם על-ידי franky-m לפני כמעט 3 שנים (סמן)

@franky-m I'm glad this is helpful to you! Another way to differentiate the two species in the field is behaviour. Female H. misippus habitually bask while sitting on an open patch of dirt. Danaus chrysippus are almost never seen doing this.

פורסם על-ידי cabintom לפני כמעט 3 שנים (סמן)

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