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The Plain Tiger is a medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan of about 7–8 cm. The body is black with many white spots. The wings are tawny the upper side being brighter and richer than the underside. The apical half of the fore wing is black with a white band. The hind wing has 3 black spots around the center. The hind wing has a thin border of black enclosing a series of semicircular white spots.
The Plain Tiger is believed to be one of the first butterflies to be used in art. A 3500 year old Egyptian fresco in Luxor features the oldest illustration of this species.[