Danaus affinis (Fabricius, 1775)
Black & White or Swamp Tiger
(one synonym: Salatura nigrita Moore, 1883)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Danaus affinis
(Photo: courtesy of David Johnston, Queensland)

The Caterpillars of this species are dark blue, with white and yellow spots and bands. They have three pairs of filaments on their back.

Danaus affinis
(dried and blown specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

They feed on various poisonous climbers growing on the margins of swamps and creeks in the plant family APOCYNACEAE, including

  • Mangrove Vine ( Ischnostemma carnosum ).

    Danaus affinis
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The pupa is green or brown with a gold ring around its widest part, and hangs from a stem of a reed supporting the foodplant.

    Danaus affinis
    (Photo: courtesy of Trevor Jink, North Burnett)

    The upper sides of the wings of the adult butterflies are black and white.

    Danaus affinis
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The undersides are similar, except that the hindwings also have orange markings. The butterflies have a wingspan of about 6 cms.

    Danaus affinis
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The butterflies are very fussy where they obtain nectar. They are especially fond of

  • Sea Oxeye (Wedelia biflora, ASTERACEAE).

    Danaus affinis
    egg, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Walker, Mataranka, Northern Territory)

    The eggs are pale yellow and bullet shaped, with a peak diameter of about 0.8 mm., and a height of about 1.2 mm. The surface of each egg is covered with a dozen or so embossed ribs, each a column of about two dozen embossed circles. The eggs are laid singly on a foodpant.

    This is a coastal species, found as a number of subspecies over south-east Asia, including

  • Bali,
  • Îles Loyauté,
  • Malaysia,
  • New Guinea,
  • Philippines,
  • Thailand,

    and in Australia in

  • Western Australia,
  • Northern Territory,
  • the coastal areas of Queensland, and
  • New South Wales.

    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 596-597.

    Johan Christian Fabricius,
    Historiae Natvralis Favtoribvs,
    Systema Entomologiae,
    1775, p. 511, No. 291.

    Frank Jordan & Helen Schwencke,
    Create More Butterflies : a guide to 48 butterflies and their host-plants
    Earthling Enterprises, Brisbane, 2005, pp. 43, 59.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 30 March 2009, 30 November 2013, 4 March 2015, 15 June 2020, 22 September 2021)