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