Exploring Wayanad..

Traveling is becoming a passion for me since few days. Last week got a chance to do a wildlife trekking . The journey was from Thirunelli in Wayanad .

Thirunelli Temple

is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu on the side of Brahmagiri hill in Kerala. Temple is located at an altitude of about 900m in north Wayanad in a valley surrounded by mountains and beautiful forests. It is situated 32 km away from Manathavady its nearest town.

I have started from the Thirunelli, Forest IB along with 6 people working in forest department.

There was road till Thirunelli, from there we walked through the dense forest ..

The road till Tirunelli

We stared in the morning around 9Am. From there we walked to Garudappara .Where we got the glimpses of the Shola forests..

Zebra Blue

Leptotes plinius

The Zebra Blue or Plumbago Blue (Leptotes plinius) is a species of blue butterfly found in India.

Description

This form closely resembles in both sexes on the upperside Tarucus theophrastus, but the character and disposition of the markings on the underside are completely different. Male Upperside: dark violet with, in certain lights, a rich blue suffusion. Fore wing: no discocellular black spot so conspicuous in T. theophrastus; terminal margin with a narrow edging of fuscous black, widest at the apex, gradually decreasing to the tornus, followed by an inconspicuous anticiliary jet-black line. Hind wing : costal margin slightly but broadly shaded with fuscous, which is continued as a slender anticiliary black line to the tornus. Underside: white

Foodplants

Plants of the Legume family, Plumbaginaceae and some of the citrus family Rutaceae. Species include Glycine tomentella, Dyerophytum indicum, Indigofera suffruticosa, Lablab purpureus, Plumbago zeylanica, Rhynchosia tomentosa, Sesbania bispinosa, Tephrosia obovata, Ziziphus mauritiana, Indigofera argentea, Indigofera erecta, Medicago sativa and Toddalia asiatica

Larva

“Pale greenish yellow above, sides lilacine, a narrow brownish median line, followed by eight diagonal short streaks and six brownish-red spots. Before pupating the colouring gets much more diffused. Feeds among the flower-buds of Plumbago.

Pupa

“Dull yellowish profusely mottled with brown spots.”

The Commander

Moduza procris

The Commander (Moduza procris), sometimes included in the genus Limenitis), is a medium-sized, strikingly coloured brush-footed butterfly found in Asia. It is notable for the mode of concealment employed by its caterpillar and the cryptic camouflage of its pupa.

Description

The Commander has a wingspan of about 6 to 7.5 cm. The upperside of its wings are a bright reddish brown. Towards the centre of the wing are broad white spots. In flight, one can see a bright red brown butterfly with a white band forming a ‘V shape’. There are also a few white spots scattered on the wings. Its hindwings have crenulated margins. The undersides of the wings are a whitish gray toward the base and have a row of dull reddish brown and a row of black spots along the margins.

The male and female are similar in appearance.

Range

Sri Lanka, Peninsular India, the Himalayas east of the Dun valley, through Kumaon, Nepal, Sikkim to Assam, Arunachal and onto Myanmar. Locally abundant, it is common from Sri Lanka to Maharashtra. It is rare in Gujarat and far more common in the Himalayas.

Ecology

The Commander is generally found in forested regions having moderate to heavy rainfall. It usually keeps to low elevations, that is, up to 3000 feet into the hills.

It is fond of open glades, roadsides and clearings in forests. It is abundant along water courses in dry and moist deciduous forests. It is also found close to villages or wherever it’s larval host-plant Mussaenda frondosa is to be found. It is most common in the post-monsoon months and winter.

The Commander can often be spotted basking with its wings pressed flat on exposed stones in streambeds. Individuals settle down on an exposed perch high up in the trees during the heat of the day. At this time it can be seen defending its territory and driving intruding butterflies away.

This butterfly has a swift flight with rapid wingbeats and alternate spurts of smooth gliding. A powerful flier, it nevertheless flies for short distances at a time. Being wary, it maintains its distance and is best caught when engrossed in mud-puddling or feeding from flowers. It regularly visits flowers from low-lying herbs to high up in the trees. Though this is a mud-puddling species, in Borneo and probably elsewhere, adults do not visit carrion or old fruit to drink liquids

Host plants

  • Neolamarckia cadamba (Kadam)
  • Mussaenda frondosa
  • Wendlandia thyrsoidea
  • Wendlandia exserta
  • Cinchona spp. (Quinine trees)
  • Cadaba fruitcosa
  • Mitragyna parviflora
  • Hedyotis orixense
  • Ochreinauclea missionis

Egg

The female Commander lays a single egg on the underside of the tip of a leaf of the food plant. The egg is hairy and greenish and looks like a green strawberry. The egg hatches in 3 to 4 days.

Caterpillar

The caterpillar is dirty brown with a chestnut tinge and dark brown splotches all over. The body also bears numerous processes which help to break up its outline. The behaviour of this caterpillar is very interesting in that it is one of the species of butterfly that makes long chains of frass. It eats up part of the leaf it is on and uses bits of leaves which are strung up with silk along with droppings. The caterpillar rests on the exposed mid rib of a leaf after removing the leafy portions on the sides. This behaviour may be to dissuade ants from crossing over the chain of frass behind which the caterpillar rests.

Pupa

Before pupating, the caterpillar wanders around, often far away from the plant it fed on. It pupates among dried leaves and twigs. The pupa is brownish in color and rough in texture. It is angular with prominent wing expansions and bears flat processes on the head which curl together lmaking a hole between them. It also has numerous lines and markings that make it look like a rolled up dried leaf.

Spotted From

Bannerughatta , Bangalore

Common Cerulean

Jamides celeno

The Common Cerulean (Jamides celeno) is a small butterfly found in India belonging to the Lycaenids or Blues family

Description

Like many tropical butterflies, this species shows seasonal polyphenism, with the appearance differing between adults according to the season.

Dry-season brood

Male upperside has the ground colour pale bluish white. The forewing has the terminal margin narrowly edged with black that broadens very slightly towards the apex of the wing; the cilia are brownish black.

The hindwing is uniformly coloured, except for an anticiliary black line faintly edged on the inner side by a white line within which and touching it is a row of black spots, the anterior spots very faint, the spot in interspace 2 large and well-defined, two geminate spots in interspace 1 and a very small black lunular dot in interspace 1a; cilia brown, white at the base in the interspaces. In specimens obtained in the height of the dry season the black edging to the termen of the fore wing is much reduced and the subterminal series of black spots in the hind wing is altogether missing

Wet-season brood

Closely resembles the males and females of the dry-season brood; the markings are similar but the ground-colour is generally darker both on the upper and undersides, while the black edging to the fore wing and the black postdiscal and terminal markings to the hind wing on the upperside are broader and more clearly defined. Antennae, head, thorax and abdomen as in the dry-season brood

Larva

“When full-fed just half an inch in length, of a dull reddish-green colour, thickly shagreened with minute white tubercles, scarcely, if at all, hairy; the head pale ochraceous, entirely hidden beneath the second segment; the segments increasing in width to about the fifth, the two anal segments slightly decreasing and above flattened, especially the thirteenth; the erectile organs very small; a dorsal pulsating line, somewhat darker than the rest of the body; a subdorsal series of pale green oblique streaks, one on each segment on each side from the third to the eleventh segment inclusive; no other conspicuous markings. Dr. Forel has identified the ant that attends the larva in Calcutta, as Camponotus mitis, Smith. Dr. G. King identifies the plant on which the larva feeds in Calcutta as Heynea trijuga, Roxburgh.”

Pupa

Of the usual Lycaenid shape, quite smooth, neither hairy nor pitted, pale ochreous greenish, the upper portions of the abdominal segments darker, covered throughout with coarse, rounded, blackish spots placed irregularly; a dorsal and a subdorsal series of similar but larger spots or blotches placed regularly. Head bluntly rounded, thorax slightly humped and constricted posteriorly, end of the abdomen rounded

Source : Wikipedia.

Recorded From

Bannerughatta, Karnataka.

Common Hedge Blue

Acytolepis puspa

The Common Hedge Blue (Acytolepis puspa) is a small butterfly found in India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Borneo and New Guinea that belongs to the Lycaenids or Blues family.

Taxonomy

The butterfly was earlier known as Lycaenopsis puspa (Toxopeus).It is the type species for the genus Acytolepis

Description

Wet-season brood. male. Upperside: violaceous blue, with brilliant iridescent tints in certain lights. Fore wing: the costa, apex and termen bordered with black, this edging narrows from base to the middle of the costa, then broadens greatly at apex, where it occupies the apical fourth of the wing, and is again narrowed below vein 4, whence it is continued as an even band to the tornus; on the disc beyond the apex of the cell the groundcolour is sensibly paler, and the dark markings of the cell are faintly visible by transparency from below. Hind wing: the costa very broadly, the termen much more narrowly black:; the black bordering on the latter consists of a series of rounded coalescent spots, which on the inner side are margined by faint dark lunules; these are formed not by actual scaling but by the dark markings of the underside which show through more or less clearly.

Underside: slightly bluish white; the markings, some black, some dusky, but all large and distinct. Fore wing: a short bar on the discocellulars, an anteriorly inwardly curved, transverse, discal series of seven, more or less elongate spots, of which the spot in interspace 2 is vertical and sinuous, the next above it irregularly oval and obliquely placed, the next smaller and almost round, the fourth placed almost longitudinally, forms a short bar, and the apical three decrease in size to the costa; beyond these is an inner subterminal, transverse, lunular line, an outer subterminal series of transverse spots and a very slender anticiliary line. Hind wing: two basal and three subbasal spots in vertical order; a line on the discocellulars; a spot above it at base of interspace 6; a much larger spot above that in interspace 7; a lower discal irregular transverse series of five spots, followed by terminal markings similar to those on the fore wing, except that the spots in the subterminal row are rounded, not transverse. Cilia of both fore and hind wings white alternated with dusky black at tho apices of the veins. Antennae, head, thorax and abdomen dusky black, the antennae ringed with white; beneath: the palpi, thorax and abdomen white.

Female: upperside: white, the bases of the wings and in some specimens the hind wing posteriorly shot with iridescent blue. Fore wing: costa, apex and termen broadly black; the discocellulars marked with a very short, fine black line that extends down from the black on the costal margin. Hind wing: costa and apex broadly black; termen below rein 6 with a regular subterminal series of black spots in the interspaces, enclosed within an inner lunular and an outer straight slender anticiliary black line; the veins, except vein 5 in the middle, slenderly black. Cilia of both fore and bind wings white. Underside: ground-colour and markings similar to those of the male. Antennae, head, thorax and abdomen as in the male.

Dry-season brood. Differs very slightly from the wet-season brood. In the male there is a small patch of white on the upperside of the fore wing beyond the cell and on the upperside of the hind wing on the anterior portion of the disc; the extent of this patch varies on the fore wing from a mere touch of white just beyond the cell to a large discal area of white which is diffuse with ill-defined margins. In the female the blue iridescence at the base of the wings on the upperside is in some specimens considerably restricted, in others entirely absent. On the underside in both sexes the ground-colour is paler and in form and position the markings are much less prominent, though entirely like those of the wet-season brood

Range

The butterfly occurs in Peninsular India, Himalayas, Assam, Andamans, Nicobars, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Philippines, Borneo , Sulawesi and New Guinea

Status

Reported as Common by Wynter-Blyth in India

Foodplants

The larva has been recorded on Glochidion fortunei, Rhododendron spp., Distylium racemosum, Rosa multiflora, Rosa wichuraina, R. centifolia, Prunus zippeliana, Glochidion obovatum, Myrica rubra, Quercus phillyraeoides, Celtis sinensis, Astilbe thunbergii, Schleichera oleosa, Hiptage benghalensis and Xylia dolabriformis

Recorded From

Bannerughatta National Park, Bangalore


Crimson Rose

Atrophaneura hector

Crimson Rose Atrophaneura hector is a large swallowtail butterfly belonging to the subgenus Pachliopta (Roses) of the Red-bodied Swallowtails (genus Atrophaneura).

Range

It is found in India and Sri Lanka and possibly the coast of western Myanmar.

In India, it is found in the Western Ghats, southern India (Kerala), eastern India (West Bengal and Orissa) and the Andaman Islands. Recorded from Pune also.

Status

Generally common and not known to be threatened. It is common all along the Western Ghats up to Maharashtra but rare in Gujarat. It is considered to be very rare in the Amphrodog. Protected by law in India.

Description

Male Upperside black. Fore wing with a broad white interrupted band from the subcostal nervure opposite the origin of veins 10 and 11, extended obliquely to the tornus, and a second short pre-apical similar band; both bands composed of detached irregularly indented broad streaks in the interspaces. Hind wing with a diseal posteriorly strongly curved series of seven crimson spots followed by a subterminal series of crimson lunules. Cilia black alternated with white. Underside: fore whig dull brownish black, hind wing black; markings as on the npporsido, but the crimson spots and crescentic markings on the hind wing larger. Antennae, thorax and abdomen abovo at base, black; head and rest of the abdomen bright crimson; beneath: iho palpi, the sides of the thorax and abdomen crimson.

Female. Similar, the discal series of spots and subterminal lunules much duller, pale crimson irrorated with black scales ; in some specimens the anterior spots and lunules almost white barely tinged with crimson; abdomen above with the black colour extended further towards the apex.

No geographic races have been described.

Habitat

This butterfly is at home both in jungle and in open country. During the dry season, it will be found up to 8000 feet (2400 m) in South India, but it is found all the year round at lower elevations.

Habits

It is a very striking looking tailed butterfly with prominent white bands on its forewings. Like the Common Rose, this butterfly is also very interesting for the amateur naturalist to observe. The Crimson Rose is very fond of flowers especially Lantana. Nectar appears to be essential for the butterfly and a higher nectar intake is thought to increase egg production.

Close to the ground, the flight of the Crimson Rose is slow and fluttering but steady. At greater heights, it flies faster and stronger. It basks with its wings wings spread flat, sometimes in small congregations at heights of 10 to 15 metres up in the trees.

The butterfly often roosts for the night in large companies on the twigs and branches of trees and shrubs, sometimes accompanied by a few Common Mormons. When resting the butterfly draws its forewings halfway between the hindwings. The butterfly sleeps on slanting outstretched branches or twigs of trees or bushes

Migration

The most striking aspect aspect of the butterflies behaviour is its strong migratory tendencies. During the peak of its season, several thousands of Crimson Roses can be found congregating and then they begin migrating to other areas.

In the Entomologist’s Monthly Magazine, 1880, p. 276, Mr. R. S. Eaton notes that in Bombay this butterfly roosted in great numbers together, however Bingham notes that in the Western Ghats between Vengurla and Belgaum, where the butterfly occurred in some numbers and had the habit of roosting in company on twigs of some thorny shrub, but never saw more than a score or so together.

Other Photos:

Taken from

Bannerughatta National Park, Bangalore.

Pioneer White

Belenois aurota

The Pioneer White or African Caper White (Belenois aurota) is a small to medium-sized butterfly of the Family Pieridae, that is, the Yellows and Whites, which is found in South Asia and Africa. In Africa, it is also known as the Brown-veined White, and is well-known during summer and autumn when large numbers migrate north-east over the interior.

Description

Wet season form

The upperside of males is white with the forewing having the costa from base to base of vein 11 dusky black and then jet black continuing into a widened and curving short streak along the disco-cellulars to the lower apex of the cell; apical area diagonally with the termen black, the former with six elongate outwardly pointed spots of the ground-colour enclosed one in each of the interspaces 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9. Hind wing: uniform, the black along the venation on the underside seen through by transparency; termen between veins 2 and 6 somewhat broadly black, with a series of four round spots of the ground-colour in the interspaces ; below vein 2 and above vein 6 the termen is very narrowly black. Underside : fore wing white, markings similar, more clearly defined, the white spots within the black apical area larger. Hind wing: yellowish white, all the reins very broadly bordered with black ; interspaces 1, 2, 6 and 7 with cross-bars of black, beyond which there is a subterminal, somewhat broad, transverse band of black between veins 2 and 6. Cilia of both fore and hind wings white alternated with black. The ground-colour on both upper and under sides variable, often cream-coloured above; beneath : in some specimens, the base of cell and the elongate spots in apical area of fore wing, and the whole surface of the hind wing varies to rich chrome-yellow.

Female similar ; the black markings on both upper and under sides broader, the white spots on black apical area of fore wing often sub-obsolete above.

Antennae in both sexes black, sparsely sprinkled with white dots ; head, thorax and abdomen above and below white : thorax above often bluish grey.

Dry-season form

Similar to wet-season form but on the upperside the black markings are narrower, the white markings on the black apical area of fore wing broader and longer, and on the hind wing the narrow inner margining to the black on the termen very narrow, somewhat obsolescent; therefore, the white subterminal spots have the appearance of opening inwards. Underside : ground-colour almost pure white ; on the hind wing slightly tinged with yellow. Antennae, head, thorax and abdomen as in the wet-season form

Wing expanse of 44-62 mm.

Distribution

Sri Lanka, the Himalayas from Kashmir to Sikkim at elevations below 6000 feet, and through the plains to Southern India. In the Nilgiris observed up to 8000 feet (Hampson). To the west it spreads through Persia and Arabia to East Africa.[2] The species occurs over the greater part of sub-Saharan Africa.

Spotted From

Bangalore, India.

Monkey Puzzle

 

Rathinda amor

 

The Monkey Puzzle, Rathinda amor (Fabricius) 1775 is a small lycaenid or blue butterfly found in south Asia.

Distribution

Western Ghats, South Indian plains (as far North as Bangalore), Orissa and Ganjam districts to Calcutta. Assam. Sri Lanka.

Status

Not Rare in India. It is common and present in all the Western Ghat districts of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Goa. It is common but not found in all the Ghat districts of Maharashtra and does not occur in Gujarat at all (Gaonkar)

Description

Sexes alike. Wingspan – 26 to 28 mm. Upperside – The butterfly is dark brown. It has a white-spot end cell. It has narrow white spots on 2 and 3 which form a short band on the forewing. On the UPH it has two black tornal spots and narrow dark reddish spota above them. Underside – The butterfly is white to dark yellowish brown. Forewing has irregular dark basal markings with a curved white discal line. The apical two-fifths are a rich dark brown colour. The hindwing has a silvery margin with many irregular black lines and spots within. It has three tails, being 2 mm, 6 mm and 2.5 mm in length.

Habits

This butterfly is found in jungle areas of moderate to heavy rainfall – both, in heavy forest and scrub. The butterfly occurs below 900 meters or so. It keeps to undergrowth and can be seen along forest paths and in clearings.

The butterfly has a weak flight, it stays low and does not fly for long without alighting. Its method of alighting is interesting – as soon as it lands, it turns around and waggles its tail filaments, it also sidesteps for a while – all this is apparently to confuse a predator as to which side is the head. This is a likely reason that the first naturalists may have named the species the Monkey Puzzle

Food Plants

The butterfly has a number of foodplants from families Rubiaceae, Dipterocarpeae, Euphorbiaceae, Loranthaceae, Sapindaceae and Myrtaceae. Mangifera indica, Meiogyne pannosa

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Superfamily: Papilionoidea
Family: Lycaenidae
Subfamily: Theclinae
Genus: Rathinda
Species: R. amor

 

Blue Tiger

 

Tirumala limniace

 

The Blue Tiger (Tirumala limniace) is a butterfly found in India that belongs to the Crows and Tigers, that is, the Danaid group of the Brush-footed butterflies family. This butterfly shows gregarious migratory behaviour in southern India.

 

Description

Upperside black, with bluish-white semihyaline spots and streaks. Fore wing: interspace 1 two streaks, sometimes coalescent, with a spot beyond cell: a streak from base and an outwardly indented spot at its apex; a large oval spot at base of interspace 2, another at base of interspace 3, with a smaller spot beyond it towards termen; five obliquely placed preapical streaks, and somewhat irregular subterminal and terminal series of spots, the latter the smaller. Hind wing: interspaces 1b, 1a, and 1 with streaks from base, double in the latter two, cell with a forked broad streak, the lower branch with a hook, or spur-like slender loop, at base of 4 and 5 a broad elongate streak, and at base of 6 a quadrate spot; beyond these again a number of scattered unequal subterminal and terminal spots.

Underside: basal two-thirds of fore wing dusky black, the apex and hind wing olive-brown; the spots and streaks much as on the upperside, Antennae, head and thorax black, the latter two spotted and streaked with, white; abdomen dusky above, ochraceous spotted with white beneath. Male secondary sex-mark in form

Food-plants

  • Asclepias
  • Calotropis
  • Heterostemma
  • Marsdenia
  • Dregea volubilis
  • Heterostemma cuspidatum
  • Hoya viridiflora
  • Marsdenia tenacissima
  • Crotalaria spp.
  • Epibaterium spp.
  • Soya

Larva

Yellowish white; 3rd and 12th segments, each with a pair of fleshy filaments, black and greenish white; each of the segments with four transverse black bars, the second bar on all broader than the others, bifurcated laterally, a yellow longitudinal line on each side; head, feet and claspers spotted with black

Pupa

“Green with golden scattered spots and beaded dorsal crescent”

Range

South Asia and Southeast Asia.

Habit

This species migrates extensively during the Monsoons in southern India. The migratory populations have been observed to be nearly entirely consisting of males

 

 

Peacock Pansy

Junonia almana

The Peacock Pansy (Junonia almana) is a species of nymphalid butterfly found in South Asia

A small to medium sized orange butterfly with large eye spots on the upper side of hind wings, and smaller ones on the fore wing. The sexes are similar in colour and pattern. The females is usually larger. The short wavy black bands that emanate from the coastal margins are distinctive. The under side is variable. Some specimens have very small markings against a light ground colour, while others have more prominent eyes and richer colors.

Cattegory

Junonia is an important genus of Family Nymphalidae of Lepidoptera. It comprises brightly marked and beautifully coloured sun-loving butterflies collectively referred to as Pansies. These are a regular and attractive feature of the Indian countryside. The change of name from Precis to Junonia brings sighs of nostalgia to older Indian aurelians who have fond memories of growing up with the Precis-based scientific butterflies.

Distribution

India and Southeast Asia into China, and Japan.

Status and Habitat

A widely distributed species that is found all over India but is scarce at elevations above 3000 feet. This is an edge species and can be seen around rice fields more frequently than at any other location. It may be seen almost year round though its numbers peak only during the monsoons.

Habits

Its habits are very similar to the Chocolate Soldier or Lemon Pansy and it joins migratory flights. The large eyes are displayed suddenly when the butterfly opens its wings – this unexpected visual signal presumably confuses the predator and takes it by surprise.

Early Stages

The larvae feed on plants of the Acanthaceae

Taken from Payyanur , Kerala India.

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