Butterflies of the Indian subcontinent
Indian Skipper
Spialia galba  FABRICIUS, 1793
subfamily - PYRGINAE

Spialia galba  Cuttack, Orissa, India Haraprasan Nayak

The genus Spialia is very closely allied to Pyrgus, and comprises of about 30 species, the majority of which are wholly or partly Afrotropical in distribution. There are however 4 species which can be found in Europe, and several in Asia. The most widely distributed species is orbifer, which is found from central Europe to Siberia.
There are 3 species which can be found on the Indian subcontinent - doris and zebra, which are semi-desert species; and galba, whose habitats are described below.
Spialia galba  Cuttack, Orissa, India Haraprasan Nayak
This species is found in a wide variety of open disturbed habitats, including forest clearings, beach hinterlands, scrubby savannah, dry open woodland, parks, gardens and wasteland. It can be found at altitudes between sea level and about 1500m.
The larval foodplants include Sida, Hibiscus and Waltheria ( Malvaceae ).
Adult behaviour

The butterflies have a very rapid whirring flight, just above ground level, where they whiz about in circles and figure-of-eights, and are impossible to follow by eye.

Males commonly imbibe mineralised moisture from damp ground, and visit urine and dung. Both sexes frequently nectar at Tridax and other low growing flowers.

On overcast days or when temperatures are relatively cool they will bask on bare ground, or nectar at flowers while fully outspreading their wings. In hot conditions the wings are held erect, or slightly apart, as depicted in the photograph at the top of the page.



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