Butterflies of Europe
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - NEPTINI
Neptis rivularis, Aggtelek, Hungary
© Peter Bruce-Jones
Neptis, together with
Athyma can be regarded as a 'sister' genus to the holarctic
Limenitis and the neotropical
There are about 170
Neptis species, of which about 65 occur
in Africa, 40+ in the Palaearctic, 50 in the Oriental region and 6
in the Australian / Papuan region. The genus is unsatisfactorily
split into several loosely defined groups. It is likely that
phylogenetic analysis will eventually lead to each of these being
classified as a separate genus or sub-genus.
ground colour of a typical Neptis is
dark brown or blackish, with a long white streak in the forewing
discal cell, and a distinctive arrangement of white bands and spots.
In some species the white markings are replaced by yellowish or
orange. The pattern is repeated on the underside, on a plain
orange-brown ground colour.
rivularis is distributed from
Switzerland and northern Italy to Siberia, China and Japan.
This species is
found in damp deciduous woodland glades at elevations between sea
level and about 2000m according to locality.
The egg is laid singly at the tip of
leaves of the foodplants. The larva sits at the tip of the leaf facing
inwards and eats chunks either side of the mid vein. It rests and
hibernates in a shelter formed by rolling the tip of the leaf into a
tube. The larval foodplants include Spiraea,
Filipendula and possibly other Rosaceae.
imbibe mineralised moisture from damp ground, and spend long periods
perching on the foliage of trees and bushes where they await passing
females. Both sexes imbibe aphid secretions 'honey-dew' which coat the
upper surface of leaves. The flight is slow, precise and graceful but
if alarmed the butterflies can move rapidly.