Blue Monarch Butterfly (Tirumala petiverana)

Blue Monarch Butterflies is an African species with blue spots across the wings.

This butterfly inhabits tropical and sub-tropical forests and it flies high above the ground, around canopies.

Its caterpillars mostly feed on different vines such as trellis vines. Once emerged as an adult, this butterfly has a black and blue color.

Its wings show a pattern of large and small blue spots. Smaller blue spots are mostly specific to the forewing and hindwing margins. Its body shows a mostly black color with blue bands and stripes. Black and blue colors are also specific to its forewings and hindwings.

Blue Monarch Scientific Classification

Common NameAfrican Blue Tiger, Dappled Monarch
SpeciesTirumala petiverana
Tirumala petiverana

Blue Monarch Butterfly Facts

Distinctive colorsBlue, black
HabitatTropical and sub-tropical forests, moist savannas
Flight periodThroughout the year in most of its range February to May in South Africa
DistributionSenegal, Ghana, Cameroon, Gabon, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa
Feeding habitNectar from flowering acacia trees
CaterpillarBlack and white
Pupa colorPale green
Egg colorPale cream
Caterpillar hostTrellis vines of the Daemia species, Hoya tropical plants
Wingspan60 to 75mm
Breeding habitsOne brood per year


Tirumala petiverana
Blue Monarch Butterflies. Image by AMADOU BAHLEMAN FARID via inaturalist

Known as a species of moist African forests, The Blue Monarch Butterfly is a species of sub-Saharan Africa.

It can be found in a vast territory from the West to the East and throughout the central and Southern parts of Africa.

This species is even known to migrate, moving East with other types of butterflies.

Small groups of several butterflies migrate East. Its migrations might seem larger as The Blue Monarch moves East together with other species.

Its presence in the Southern parts of the continent is tied to a specific season, typically up to May. But the butterfly is active throughout the year in most areas it inhabits.

Habitat and Behavior

Blue Monarch Butterfly

A distinct Blue Monarch Butterfly trait includes living at higher elevations. It only inhabits forests at an elevation of at least 1.300 feet, often being found in moist forests up to several thousand feet.

It’s here that it lives high above the ground, often together with other species of butterflies.

A species with large wings this butterfly has slow movements. Its flight pattern has a paced characteristic.

Life Cycle

Initially a small cream egg, this species grows into a black and white caterpillar from the second instar onwards.

It lives on various broadleaf hosts, especially types of vines.

The pupal stage of this species is marked by a green color. Blue Monarch Butterflies’ pupas have a translucent green color.

The butterfly then emerges as an adult, feeding on plant nectar.

Some of the most common foods for the adult include nectar from flowering trees, such as various local acacias.

Males of the species are also known for puddling. This is a behavior where they feed on the nutrients in mud in groups. Multiple males feed on mud together. Some of the butterflies which resemble Blue Monarchs the most include The Asia Blue Tiger (Tirumala limniace), a species also dominated by black and blue nuances.