Common Mother-of-Pearl

Protogoniomorpha parhassus
Protogoniomorpha parhassus
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Protogoniomorpha parhassus, the forest mother-of-pearl or common mother-of-pearl, is a species of Nymphalidae butterfly found in forested areas of Africa.

Common Mother-of-Pearl

Protogoniomorpha parhassus



Scientific classification

kingdom: Animalia
phylum: Arthropoda
class: Insecta
order: Lepidoptera
family: Nymphalidae
genus: Protogoniomorpha


The following description is for P. p. aethiops: A large butterfly; the wingspan is 65–80 mm for males and 75–90 mm for females. The male and female are similar in colour and pattern. The base colour of the upper surface of the wings is greenish white with a violet sheen in the wet-season form, and pearly white in the dry-season form. The forewing has a black-tipped, hooked apex. The wings have a few red eyespots which are ringed with black. There are black spots near the margins of both the forewings and hindwings. The underside of the wings has a greenish-white base colour, with eyespots corresponding to those on the upper surface.


This species lays tiny eggs similar to those of Junonia and Precis species.


The larvae are similar to those of Junonia and Precis species, but larger. They feed on Asystasia (A. gangetica ), Brillantaisia, Isoglossa (I. woodii and I. mossambicensis ), Mimulopsis, and Paulowilhelmia species.


The pupae are similar to those of Junonia and Precis species, but larger.


The flight period of the adults is year round, peaking in summer and autumn. They have a "ponderous, flapping flight which can be quite fast". The males may perch on the leaves of forest trees, while the females stay closer to the ground near the larval food plants. These butterflies roost under leaves at night, and the males sometimes mud-puddle.