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Butterflies of the Indian subcontinent
Eastern Courtier
Sephisa chandra  MOORE, 1858
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - APATURINAE
Tribe -

Sephisa chandra  Ultapani, Assam, India   Adrian Hoskins

Introduction
The subfamily Apaturinae is of worldwide distribution and comprises of several genera of large and powerfully flying butterflies among which are Apatura, Doxocopa and Mimathyma. Most have dark brown uppersides, banded with white. The males of most genera reflect an iridescent purple, blue or turquoise sheen.
Unlike the aforementioned genera Sephisa males are devoid of any iridescence. The butterflies are sexually dimorphic. The male of chandra, illustrated above, is one of most magnificent butterflies in the Oriental region. The female is arguably even more beautiful - her black forewings are marked with blue, pink and white spots; while her hindwings are metallic azure blue, with black veins and narrow black submarginal bands.
There are 4 Sephisa species found variously from India to China and Taiwan. Sephista chandra is the most widely distributed species, being found in north India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, western China and Taiwan.
Habitats
This species inhabits rainforest and humid deciduous forest at elevations between about 200-1000m.
Lifecycle
To be completed.
Adult behaviour
Males visit damp ground to imbibe moisture. They are quite extraordinary in flight, rocketing back and forth along forest tracks at incredible speed, twisting and turning with amazing agility. Oddly, after taking a minute or two to become accustomed with human intruders they become remarkably tolerant, remaining on the ground for several minutes, and returning repeatedly to the same spot if disturbed.

Sephisa chandra  Ultapani, Assam, India   Adrian Hoskins

 

 

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