Butterflies of the
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - VAGRANTINI
Kalejnada, West Sikkim, India ©
Phalanta comprises of 6 species, popularly known as Leopards.
There are 2 species
in the Oriental region - alcippe, and
Phalanta phalantha is the commonest and
most widespread member of the genus. It is distributed from s.w.
Arabia, eastward from India to China and Japan, and south to the
Philippines, most of the south-east Asian islands, and northern
Australia. It also occurs across sub-Saharan Africa from Gambia to
Ethiopia, and south to South Africa and Madagascar.
This is primarily a butterfly
of Acacia thorn scrub and savannah / woodland habitats, but can also
be found in clearings within tropical and subtropical rainforest.
It's migratory nature also takes it to coastal grasslands, city
parks, gardens and many other habitats. It can be found at altitudes
from sea level to at least 1500m.
The larvae feed on several genera of Flacourtiaceae including
Xylosma. Other less commonly used foodplants include
Ixora ( Rubiaceae ),
Maytenus ( Celastraceae ), Petalostigma
( Euphorbiaceae ), Smilax ( Smilacaceae
), Viola ( Violaceae ), and
Salix ( Salicaceae ).
The butterflies are usually seen
in two's and three's in fairly open areas. Males sometimes imbibe
moisture from damp sand along riverbanks, but are more strongly
attracted to patches of urine, and to dung.
Bundala, Sri Lanka ©