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Butterflies of the Indian subcontinent
Lesser Dart
Potanthus omaha  EDWARDS, 1863
Family - HESPERIIDAE
subfamily - HESPERIINAE
Tribe - TARACTROCERIINI

Potanthus omaha Chilapata, West Bengal, India   Adrian Hoskins

Introduction
The Hesperiinae are a vast subfamily, characterised by their wide heads, large eyes, thick bodies, and their habit of basking with their forewings held at a 45 angle, and hindwings held horizontally. The caterpillars of all species feed on monocotyledons - grasses, palms, orchids etc.
There are about 400 Hesperiinae in the Oriental region. Among these there are dozens from the genera Salanoemia, Telicota, Taractrocera, Potanthus and Oriens which share a similar upperside pattern of broad yellowish-orange streaks on a dark brown ground colour. Distinguishing these genera, and the numerous species within them, relies on close examination of the configuration of the markings on both wing surfaces, and reference to text keys and diagrams.
The genus Potanthus comprises of about 40 species, many of which are so similar that identification is only possible after dissecting and microscopically examining the genitalia.
Potanthus omaha is a common species which is found in India, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Borneo, the Philippines, Sulawesi and Java.
Potanthus omaha Manas, Assam, India   Adrian Hoskins
Habitats
This species is found in disturbed grassy habitats at altitudes between sea level and about 400m.
Lifecycle
The larva is pale translucent green, with a suffused dark green dorsal line, and a dark brown head. It feeds on bamboo Bambusa ( Poaceae ), and lives within a shelter constructed by folding a leaf of the foodplant into a tube, which is fastened with a few strands of silk. The chrysalis is formed within the larval shelter.
Adult behaviour
Potanthus omaha is an active sun-loving little butterfly which darts from flower to flower to seek nectar. It normally basks in the characteristic Hesperiine posture, with the forewings held at 45 and the hindwings in a horizontal plane.
 

 

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