22 Aug 2016

Doubleday’s Acraea – Raydah Escarpment

Whilst birdwatching at the bottom of the Raydah escarpment in the southwest of the Kingdom I came across a very bright butterfly with orange-red upperwings but much paler underwings and a distinctive white abdomen. This butterfly turned out to be a Doubleday’s Acraea Acraea doubledayi a butterfly in the Nymphalidae family that are the largest family of butterflies with about 6,000 species distributed throughout most of the world. Many hold their colourful wings flat when resting and are also called brush-footed butterflies or four-footed butterflies, this is because they are known to stand on only four legs which often have a brush-like set of hairs. Many species are brightly colored and include the emperors, Monarch butterfly, admirals, tortoiseshells, and fritillaries. However, the underwings are in contrast often dull or much paler, producing a cryptic effect that helps the butterfly disappear into its surroundings. The larvae feed on Adenia species a genus of flowering plants in the passionflower family distributed in the Old World tropics and subtropics. The genus name Adenia comes from the Greek aden "gland", and is inspired by the prominent leaf glands of most species. It is found in Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Yemen with the subspecies azvaki found only in southwest Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

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