Butterflies of the
Common Snow Flat
Family - HESPERIIDAE
subfamily - PYRGINAE
Tribe - PYRGINI
Chilapata, West Bengal, India
© Adrian Hoskins
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 -
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.
This species is found in open
secondary vegetation at elevations up to about 1200m.
The larval foodplant is Dioscorea (
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.