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Butterflies of the Indian subcontinent
Common Snow Flat
Tagiades japetus  STOLL, 1781
Family - HESPERIIDAE
subfamily - PYRGINAE
Tribe - PYRGINI

Tagiades japetus  Chilapata, West Bengal, India Adrian Hoskins

Introduction
There are between 17-20 Tagiades species, od which one is pan-African and two are endemic to Madagascar. The remainder are Oriental in distribution, although 2 species japetus and nestus reach Australia. The butterflies habitually rest beneath leaves with their wings fully outspread. All species except japetus have white borders on the hindwings, hence the popular name Snow Flats.
There are 6 species which can be found on the Indian subcontinent - gana, japetus, litigiosa, parra, menaka and toba.
Tagiades japetus is found in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, south China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, Java, New Guinea and Australia.
Habitats
This species is found in open secondary vegetation at elevations up to about 1200m.
Lifecycle
The larval foodplant is Dioscorea ( Dioscoreaceae ).
Adult behaviour

Males spend most of their time perched under the leaves of trees and bushes, periodically darting rapidly out to intercept passing butterflies in anticipation of finding a receptive female. If disturbed from rest the butterflies circle widely 2 or 3 times before returning to their original perch or another nearby leaf. Both sexes frequently nectar at the flowers of Stachytarpheta.

 

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