Butterflies of the
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - CYRESTINAE
Tribe - CYRESTINI
© Adrian Hoskins
Cyrestis Mapwings and their small
orange-winged relatives the Chersonesia
Maplets are noted for their attractive patterns of fine lines and
their short-tailed hindwings. They are closely related to the
Marpesia Daggerwings of the neotropical
region. Taxonomists differ regarding the higher level taxonomy of
these butterflies. Some workers allocate them to the tribe Cyrestini
which they include within the subfamily Biblidinae. Others place
them in their own subfamily Cyrestinae.
There are 25
Cyrestis species in total. Only two
occur on the Indian subcontinent - thyodamas
and cocles. The remainder are
distributed variously across s.e. Asia from Myanmar and the Andaman
islands to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon islands;
although there is a single species camilla,
found in Africa and Madagascar.
Cyrestis cocles occurs in north-east
India, Myanmar, Thailand, West Malaysia, Sabah, Kalimantan and
Sulawesi, but is absent from Sumatra.
is a scarce butterfly in India, found at elevations between about
larvae feed on the leaves of fig trees Ficus
( Moraceae ).
Males are sometimes
seen along pebble-strewn river edges, where they bask in full
sunlight while imbibing mineralised moisture. They are initially
nervous and difficult to approach but once they start imbibing they
tend to remain at the same spot for several minutes. Females are
seen less often, but sometimes encountered along forest trails, or
nectaring at flowers in forest gardens.
habitually rest beneath leaves with their wings outspread. Less
commonly they will bask on the upper surface of large leaves, but
tend to only do so in areas of dappled sunlight.