Butterflies of the
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
Tribe - LOXURINI
The genus Loxura comprises of 2 very
similar species atymnus and
cassiopeia, both restricted to the
Loxura atymnus is found in India, Sri
Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, southern China, Taiwan, the
Philippines, peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Sarawak, Brunei, Sabah,
Kalimantan, Java, Sulawesi and Bali.
This species can be found in primary rainforest but is more
frequently associated with disturbed or secondary forest or
plantations, where is can be seen in open sunny areas.
Mumbai, India © Anand Narkevar
The egg is dome-shaped with numerous tiny shallow depressions, and
purplish-white in colour. It is laid singly at the base of young
shoots of the foodplants which include
Dioscorea ( Dioscoreaceae ), Smilax
( Smilacaceae ) and Solanum (
The caterpillar is
slug-shaped, shiny olive green, with whitish striations along the
length of the back. There is a reddish suffusion along the lower
middle abdomen and along the middle of the back. It feeds openly on
the fleshy shoots but is extremely well camouflaged.
Like almost all
Lycaenidae larvae it possesses a Newcomer's gland on the back, near
the tail, which secretes a sugary substance which is "milked" by
ants. The ants, by their presence offer in return a degree of
protection against predators and parasitoids.
The chrysalis is
attached vertically to a stem of the foodplant and bears a
remarkable resemblance to a partly opened leaf bud. The abdomen is
bright leaf-green, with a broad band of marbled brown along the
back, either side of the thorax, and around the edges of the wing
The butterfly is usually encountered singly, either basking with
wings held half-open on foliage, or sitting on leaves close to the
ground. I have also observed males imbibing water from wet rocks at
the edge of rivers, and have watched them expel water from the anus
onto dry rocks to dissolve minerals, which they then imbibe.