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Butterflies of temperate Asia
Common Forester
Lethe insana  KOLLAR, 1844
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
Tribe -
Lethe insana male, Sichuan, China Tony Hoare
Introduction
The genus Lethe is composed of 112 species, most of which are found in temperate forests in Asia, although there is one species endemic to Sulawesi, another endemic to Java. Several of the species are very localised, being confined to the forests of particular mountains, but others are widespread. The commonest and most widely distributed species is rohria, which is found from Afghanistan to China, and south to Java, Bali and Lombok.
Lethe species typically have sombre earthy brown uppersides, although a few such as europa have prominent white diagonal bands on their forewings; while others such as sinorix have a series of dark ocelli on the hindwings, set within a band of suffused orange. The undersides are usually more strongly marked than the upper surface, and feature a series of 7 prominent submarginal ocelli, of which the first ( uppermost ) and fifth are usually significantly larger than the others.
All Lethe species have a dense layer of fine bristles on their compound eyes. Observations in India, Sri Lanka, Borneo and Malaysia indicate that males are strongly attracted to wet faeces and spend long periods probing into it. It seems possible that the bristles may function in much the same way as a cat's whiskers, acting as tactile sensors to warn the butterfly if their heads get too close to the dung, which would blind them permanently if it stuck to the surface of the eyes.

Lethe insana is a common species found in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and the provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan in China.

Habitats
This species is found in forests and forest-edge habitats at elevations between about 500-1500m.
Lifecycle
To be completed.
Adult behaviour

Males are attracted to dung, at which times they feed voraciously. Females are more commonly seen in glades and forest-edge habitats, resting on low herbage.

Lethe insana female, Sichuan, China Andrew Neild

 

 

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