The Plain Tiger is a medium sized butterfly with a wingspan of about 7–8 cm. The body is black with many white spots. The wings are tawny the upper side being brighter and richer than the underside. The apical half of the fore wing is black with a white band. The hind wing has 3 black spots around the center. The hind wing has a thin border of black enclosing a series of semicircular white spots.
Background color and extent of white on the forewings varies somewhat across the wide range; see Systematics and taxonomy below.
The male Plain Tiger is smaller than the female, but more brightly colored. In addition, male danaines have a number of secondary sexual characteristics. In the case of the Plain Tiger, these are:
- The male has a pouch on the hindwing. This spot is white with a thick black border and bulges slightly. It is a cluster of specialised scent scales used to attract females.
- The males possess two brush-like organs which can be pushed out of the tip of the abdomen.
The butterfly has a rich fulvous orange forewings with a broad black apical border bearing a series of white spots. It occurs in two forms – form chrysippus which has orange hindwings, and form alcippoides which has white hindwings. Males can be distinguished by an additional brand on the hindwing.
Singapore is host to both forms of the Plain Tiger with the white-hindwinged form-alcippoides being the more common of the two forms. The species is distasteful to birds.
This photos was taken in Kranji, April 2008. Singapore
Photo Gallery: Plain Tiger