Showing posts from March, 2009

Gram Blue and Forget-me-not

These two Lycaenids cause much confusion in amateur butterfly watchers. Here's one note on how to distinguish them. Gram Blue on a Shrub Gram Blue, Euchrysops cnejus – is a common Lycaenid of India. Distributed throughout the southern and western regions, it is not found in the higher altitudes. Gram Blue male - upper side Male Gram Blues are smaller compared to the female counterparts. The males have a shade of blue and black on the upper wings compared to the females, which have more of a brown shade with blue near the body. Gram Blue Female - upper side Although found in all the seasons, they are abundant during post-monsoon. They prefer flying on low ground, feeding on various flowers of weeds as well as important plants. The larval food plant is Vigna trilobata, generally called as Wild Bean, which is in abundance during monsoon and flowers post-monsoon. The larvae, like most of the Lycaenid larvae, are attended by ants. Gram Blue on Vigna trilobata flower The adults

The Charaxinae

The Charaxinae The Killer Moth or Charaxes of Batman may be a villain that everyone hates. But that does not stop the butterflies I’m in love with – commonly called Leafwings be named the Charaxes (Subfamily Charaxinae). Introducing the Nawab ( Polyura athamas ) and the Rajahs ( Charaxes solon and Charaxes bernardus ) from my backyard, who happen to be rather uncommon – if not rare – in the habitat that surrounds us. There are around 400 species of Leafwings most of which found in tropics. India has about 16 sp. belonging to subfamily Charaxinae, family Nymphalidae. These butterflies are well known for their robust bodies, fast flight and cryptic designs. The habit of fast flight is developed to evade predators such as birds. Charaxes solon  seen here puddling on animal scat Charaxes solon  feeding on  Pongamia pinnata  sap All Charaxinae exhibit other similar characteristics apart from morphological adaptations. The common food source for most larvae is dicotyledonous plant

The Praying Mantis - An Insight

The Praying Mantis silhouette Insects have not only adopted the status of pests–and– friends–of–everyone. There are many others that are, in true sense – predatory. And here I am talking of Mantids, commonly so-called Praying Mantis(es). An adult mantis rests in dried inflorescence with a "praying" posture Praying Mantises belong to the order Mantodea. They are referred to as “Praying” Mantis for the design of their forelimbs –or the appendages – rather called raptorial legs, held in a shape as if “praying with folded hands”. These praying limbs aren’t really praying, but preying they are! These raptorial legs are so designed to act like pincers, scissors, crushers and fingers! Mantids (as they are generally called) also have highly developed compound eyes with a wide binocular vision. The head is triangular which can rotate to about 300 degrees in some species and they also have elongated thorax that aids in free movement of the raptorial limbs. A mantis that