Natural enemies

Most, if not all species of the genus Ceropegia contain larger or smaller amounts of the alkaloid Ceropegin, and thus are probably not specifically taken by mammals as food, however, giraffes have been observed in the Niger to occasionally eat shoots of Ceropegia aristolochioides. [5]

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On the other hand, however, several species of Ceropegia are very important food plants for the caterpillars of some butterfly species from the Brush-footed Butterfly family (Nymphalidae).

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danaus.genutia.raupe.fm.li

danaus.genutia.fm.li

above:

The caterpillars of the Common Tiger (Danaus genutia (Cramer)) from India feed on Ceropegia elegans, Ceropegia intermedia, Ceropegia lawii, Ceropegia manoharii, Ceropegia oculata, and Ceropegia thwaitesii. [1][6][9]

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parantica.aglea.raupe.fm.li

parantica.aglea.fm.li

above:

The caterpillars of the Glassy Tiger (Parantica aglea (Stoll)) have been recorded from the Andaman Islands to feed on Ceropegia andamanica, and from India on Ceropegia bulbosa, Ceropegia hirsuta, Ceropegia lawii, and Ceropegia oculata. [2][6][9][10]

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parantica.taprobana.fm.li

above:

The caterpillars of the Ceylon Tiger (Parantica taprobana (Felder & Felder)) from Sri Lanka are thought to feed on Ceropegia thwaitesii, however, this is still to be proven. [8]

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euploea.core.raupe.fm.li

euploea.core.fm.li

above:

The caterpillars of the Common Crow (Euploea core (Cramer)) in Australia – which, by the way, is a collective species, consisting of at least five distinct species – are known to feed on Ceropegia cumingiana. [4]

Depictions from: ‘F. Moore: Lepidoptera Indica. London 1890-1913’

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

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danaus.chrysippus.raupe.kn

danaus.chrysippus.kn

above:

The caterpillars of the African Monarch (Danaus chrysippus L.), a species that is distributed over Africa and parts of Asia, are known to feed on several species of Ceropegia in Africa, and at least on Ceropegia bulbosa in India. [2]

The same species was formerly a straggler to the Canary Islands but is now a resident, its larvae were recorded on the islands first on the introduced asclepioid species Orbea variegata (L.) Haw. in 2010. [7]

This species is now known to feed on the endemic Ceropegia species as well (see photograph, which, by the way, was taken in 2008 (!)).

Photos: Klaus Nowak; by courtesy of Klaus Nowak

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References:

[1] Naresh Chaturvedi; Meena Haribal: New larval food plants for the Common Tiger Butterfly in India (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Danainae). Tropical Lepidoptera 3(2): 158. 1992
[2] N. Patil; M. R. Almeida: Ceropegia bulbosa var. lushii (Grah.) Hook. f.: a new food plant for plain tiger butterfly Danaus chrysippus (Linn.). Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 93(3): 600. 1996
[3] P. V. Sreekumar; K. Veenakumari; Mohanraj Prashanth: Ceropegia andamanica (Asclepiadaceae) a new ‘fly trap flower’ from the Andaman Islands, India. Blumea 43(1): 215-217. 1998
[4] R. L. Kitching; E. Scheermeyer; R. E. Jones; N. E. Pierce: Biology of Australian Butterflies. CSIRO Publishing, 1999
[5] I. Ciofolo; Y. Le Pendu: The Feeding Behaviour of Giraffe in Niger. Mammalia – International Journal of the Systematics, Biology and Ecology of Mammals. 66(2): 183–194. 2002
[6] Mamata Chandrakar; Sachin Palekar; Sangita Chandrakar: Butterfly fauna of Melghat Region, Maharashtra. Zoos’ Print Journal 22(7): 2762-2764. 2007
[7] T. van der Heyden: Orbea variegata (L.) Haworth, 1812 (Apocynaceae, Asclepiadoideae) als Futterpflanze der Larven von Danaus chrysippus (Linnaeus, 1758) auf den Kanarischen Inseln (Spanien) (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae, Danainae). Shilap Revta. lepid., 38(149): 107-110. 2010
[8] George van der Poorten; Nancy van der Poorten: New and revised descriptions of the immature stages of some butterflies in Sri Lanka and their larval food plants (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Part 1: Sub-family Danainae. The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 44: 1-16. 2011
[9] P. Sujanapal; P. M. Salim; N. Anil Kumar, N. Sasidharan: A new species of Ceropegia (Apocynaceae: Asclepiadoideae) from India with notes on rare and threatened Ceropegia in Nilgiris of Western Ghats. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 7(1): 341-345. 2013
[10] M. Bhakare; H. Ogale: Larval host plants — Asclepiadaceae. In: K. Kunte, S. Kalesh & U. Kodandaramaiah (eds.). Butterflies of India, v. 2.00. Indian Foundation for Butterflies 2014