Butterflies of the
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
Tribe - SATYRINI
subtribe - LETHINA
© Haraprasan Nayak
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 the hindwings feature a
series of 7 prominent ocelli, of which the first ( uppermost ) and
fifth are usually the largest.
species have a dense layer of fine bristles on their compound eyes.
My observations of
various species in Sri Lanka, Borneo and Malaysia indicate that the
adults are strongly attracted to wet dung, and spend long periods
probing into it. At these times their heads push deep into the dung.
It seems possible therefore 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.
This species is found in forest
edge habitats, at altitudes between about 1200-2200m.
The larval foodplant of sidonis appears
to be unknown. The range of plants used by other members of the
genus is very wide, varying according to species. They are all
monocotyledons, and include various grasses, sedges, canes, bamboos
Males settle on rocks or on bare
earth to imbibe mineralised moisture. Both sexes bask with wings fully
outspread, on ferns, fallen leaves, mossy boulders etc.