Sunday 5 July 2020

Danaus Chrysippus (Tanzania, 1973)

The danaus chrysippus is a medium sized butterfly widespread in Africa, Asia and Australia. It’s also known as the African Monarch or the African Queen. Its special skill seems to be dining on milkweed, which is pretty toxic to other creatures, so that its predators get a nasty taste sensation whenever they chomp down on one. The special trick of other butterflies is to copy the colouring of the danaus chrysippus. Predators stay away, thinking that the imitators are going to taste foul too. Go butterflies!

The word Habushia is harder to track down but right relate either to a traditional Swahili word for slaves from Abyssinia, or to a folkloric spirit. Female Abyssinian slaves were known for their beauty, so perhaps that ties in with the African Queen name for the butterfly…

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