Butterflies of the
Family - PIERIDAE
subfamily - PIERINAE
West Sikkim, India ©
There are 6 species in the genus
Prioneris, all endemic to the Oriental
region. They bear a strong superficial resemblance to the
Delias Jezebels. Both genera are
unpalatable to birds, so it seems likely that they form a Mullerian
Prioneris thestylis is found in India,
Myanmar, Thailand, West Malaysia, south China and Taiwan.
This species is usually found in hot open
habitats such as along the edges of major rivers, at elevations
between about 300-1200m.
I have no
description of the early stages of thestylis,
but in the closely related sita the
larva is described as being a dull blue-green colour, with the head
and body segments dotted with minute blue tubercules. The larval
foodplants of thestylis are
Crateva ( Capparidaceae ).
Males are usually
seen in one's and two's imbibing mineralised moisture from damp sand
or gravel. They are robust and powerful flyers, but very nervous in
nature. If disturbed they have a habit of instantly dashing off,
only to resettle a few feet away, and if followed they then go back
to their original feeding place. This game of cat and mouse can go
on for a long time, so when attempting to photograph this gorgeous
species, sore knees and elbows are inevitable, and a lot of patience
is required !