Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Yellow Pansy!

Look who wished me a good morning today! The Yellow Pansy Junonia hierta. Must admit, this is one of those butterflies which repeatedly shows up on my blog. Absolutely love the blue iridescent shade amidst the deep brown and flashy yellow! This was at 11:15 am, right opposite my home at Girinagar.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

An hour at Lalbagh!

It had been a fairly long time since I visited Lalbagh to do some butterflywatching. I was around the area today, and I thought of checking the place out for a short while because some tiny part of my brain insisted that it was going to be a lucky day.

Lalbagh, as we see it, has been losing its bird diversity over time. As evident as it may seem, we don't hear the Coppersmith Barbets the way we used to a few years earlier. But its not the same with respect to butterflies. Lalbagh paves a way for these winged wonders to thrive amidst the busy city. The reason for this is the abundance of host plants and nectar plants. Lalbagh has a large variety of plants that attract a lot of butterfly species. 

I spent about 45 minutes (11:15am - 12:00pm) this morning, and I was pleased to see how much I could see in such a short span of time.

Common Crow Euploea core - 4
Plain Tiger Danaus chrysippus - 4
Dark Grass Blue Zizeeria karsandra - 5
Chocolate Pansy Junonia iphita - 2
Common Castor Ariadne merione - 4
Lemon Pansy Junonia lemonias - 5
Common Grass Yellow Eurema hecabe - 3
Yellow Pansy Junonia hierta - 4
Pioneer Belenois aurota - 2
Pea Blue Lampides boeticus - 1
Mottled Emigrant Catopsilia pyranthe - 5
Common Emigrant Catopsilia pomona - 2
Common Cerulean Jamides celeno - 2 {Mating pair}
Common Mormon Papilio polytes - 2 {1 male, 1 female: form Romulus}
**Common Albatross Appias albina - 1 {Female}**

Total butterfly count: 45
Species count: 15

I was pleasantly surprised to see the Common Albatross female in the patch next to the rose garden. There was only one, and it flew close to the grass, nectaring on Tridax flowers.

Later on my way to the west gate, I found a mating pair of Common Ceruleans. 

Overall, it was a quick 45 minutes of good butterflying. Hope to spend more time on finding out what other species inhabit ನಮ್ಮ Lalbagh!

A sketch of the Yellow Pansy Junonia hierta that I did after a day of butterfly watching at Jalahalli a few days ago, just thought of sharing!

Happy butterfly watching!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Plumbeous Silverline - Spindasis schistacea

A beautiful butterfly of the Lycanidae family. It's fast and erratic flight makes it hard to find, but this individual was basking today morning. At Valley School, Bangalore.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Butterflies feeding on tree sap

Many butterflies adore the sweet taste of sap dripping from trees. This sap is actually the fluid transported in the cells within in the tree. The cause of the leaking of sap from trees is believed to be due to the carbon dioxide that can build up inside the tree, forcing the sap through cracks or openings called "wounds".The common species of butterflies that we might see in this context, are the Common Baron, Large Oakblue, Baronet, Gaudy Baron and nymphalids that belong to the sub-family Charaxinae. They feast on the leaking sap. The sap contains carbohydrates (Phloem content) and a lot of minerals, sugar, hormones meant as raw materials for different parts of the tree (Xylem content). 

I have noticed that trees ooze a lot more sap on warm days than on the cold days. This is probably because of the pressure built up within the sapwood (alburnum) is much higher when the temperature is greater.

It is interesting to observe that these butterflies which feed on tree sap, also feed on rotten fruits and animal dung. These species are rarely found on flowers. They are rarely seen nectaring. Mudpuddling (See butterflies-mudpuddling-and-courtship is a common phenomenon though. This might mean that their necessities are slightly different from the butterflies which feed on nectar, or that they have adapted themselves to other sources of nutrition.The sap which oozes from wounds of the bark is called exudate. When dried, this exudate becomes crystallized and is referred to as manna.

A few glimpses of sap-feeding butterflies that I photographed this month.

Common Baron (Euthalia aconthea) at J.P Nagar forest, Bangalore:

Common Baron (Euthalia aconthea) at Girinagar, Bangalore:

Common Baron (Euthalia aconthea) and Large Oakblue (Arhopala amantes) at J.P Nagar Forest, Bangalore. On Eucalyptus tree.

Baronet (Euthalia nais), courtship, at J.P Nagar Forest, Bangalore:

Baronet (Euthalia nais) at J.P Nagar Forest, Bangalore:

Large Oakblue (Arhopala amantes) feeding on tree sap at J.P Nagar Forest, Bangalore:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Spalgis epius - Pupa and butterfly

For those who were waiting for this post, sincere apologies. This was long overdue. Thanks a million to Poornima Kannan who found this and let me keep it! Apefly, from pupa stage to a hatched adult. I have uploaded the pictures in high resolution so that you can observe every detail. This butterfly "Apefly" is called so because of the resemblance of the pupa to the face of an ape. I was amazed to see one for real, the camouflage is so mind-boggling. And it really does look like an ape! A meditating one, to be precise!

Day 1:

With size reference of a USB cable:

Day 5, no changes. The "meditating ape" that I talked about? Wow:

 Day 11, night before hatching:

The vacated pupa and the adult butterfly:


The pupa took 12 days to hatch from the day it was found. It was probably a few days old at the time.

The Apefly is a small butterfly that belongs to the Lycanidae family. An interesting thing about this species is that, in the caterpillar stage, it feeds on scale insects and mealy bugs! Yes, that means this caterpillar, ulike any other species, is a carnivorous caterpillar. The individual I have photographed is a male, judging by the pointedness of the apex. In case of the female, it is slightly but noticably more rounded. The butterfly shows a fast, erratic flight pattern and tends to keep to the bushes. Often, this species is observed basking, with it's dusky brown upper side almost invisible amongst a bunch of dry leaves or soil.

Happy butterflying!

Tawny Coster - another pupa

The pupa of this butterfly, as you have seen in my earlier post, is usually orange in colour. But such colour variants are also seen. It was the first time for me. Both the pupae shot at the same place! Take a look. :)