Butterflies of the
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
© Anand Narkevar
There are about 55 species in the
genus Euthalia, divided into several
sub-groups with differing adult characteristics.
Euthalia aconthea is the "type" species
of the aconthea group, all members of
which are sexually dimorphic. The males of several species in this
group e.g. ipona and
mahedeva, have broad bands of metallic
blue or green on the outer hindwings, although
aconthea itself is an exception to this generalisation.
Females in the aconthea group are
and in some species are
beautifully patterned with greyish steaks and chevrons. Again,
aconthea itself is an exception, being
similar in pattern to the male, but with a lighter, warmer ground
aconthea is distributed from India and Sri Lanka to Thailand,
Malaysia, south China and the Philippines. It is also found in
Sumatra, Borneo, Java, Bali and Lombok.
This is a lowland species found
in rainforest habitats. It can also be found in gardens and orchards
where it's foodplants are grown.
The larval foodplants include mango Mangifera
and cashew Anacardium ( Anacardiaceae
); and also Scurrula ( Loranthaceae ).
Males visit damp patches to
imbibe mineralised moisture, and also attend dung, carrion and fallen
fruits on the forest floor.
Females are usually seen deep in
the forest, basking on leaves in areas of dappled sunlight. The
egg-laying behaviour is interesting to watch. In Taman Negara (
Malaysia ) I watched a female settle on a leaf, where she spent a few
moments basking. She then slowly and slightly awkwardly walked
backwards, edging herself to the very tip of the leaf, and while still
keeping her wings fully outspread, curved her abdomen under the leaf
to deposit a single egg.