Butterflies of the Indian subcontinent
Spotted Sawtooth
Prioneris thestylis  DOUBLEDAY, 1842
subfamily - PIERINAE
Tribe -
Prioneris thestylis, West Sikkim, India  Adrian Hoskins
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 mimicry group.
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 Capparis and Crateva ( Capparidaceae ).
Adult behaviour
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 !


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