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Butterflies of Thailand, Malaysia & Borneo
Autumn Leaf
Doleschallia bisaltide CRAMER, 1777
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - NYMPHALINAE
Tribe - KALLIMINI

Doleschallia bisaltide pratipa, male, Bukit Tapah, West Malaysia  Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
The Indo-Australian genera Doleschallia and Kallima, and the African genera Kamilla, Mallika and Kallimoides are collectively known as Dead Leaf butterflies. They are characterised by having a produced apex, and the hw tornus extended to form a short tail. The resulting shape, together with the cryptic dead-leaf colouration bears a remarkable resemblance to a dead fallen leaf, complete with a "midrib", and markings resembling patches of mould and leaf galls.
The genus Doleschallia comprises about 8 described species, although the status of some of these is questionable, some authors considering that at least 4 of them are just subspecies of bisaltide.
Both sexes are very similar, and on the upperside are orange-brown, except for the subapical area which is blackish.
The butterfly occurs in India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, West Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, Palawan, Sulawesi and north-eastern Australia. In New Guinea it is replaced by other Doleschallia species - dascylus, dascon, noorna and hexophthalmos.
Habitats
This species breeds in primary and secondary rainforest at altitudes between 0-1400m.
Lifecycle
The fully grown caterpillar is black, adorned with short whorled spines.  It has a series of broken, broad white stripes along the back, and a pair of thin broken off-white lines below the spiracles. The abdominal segments each carry a large red tubercle below each spiracle. The head is steely blue. It feeds gregariously on plants including Artocarpus ( jack fruit ), Pseuderanthemum, Calycanthus, and Graptophyllum ( Acanthaceae ). The caterpillars are parasitised by Chalcid wasps, which emerge after the larvae has pupated.

Doleschallia bisaltide pratipa, male, Bukit Tapah, West Malaysia  Adrian Hoskins
Adult behaviour

The butterflies have a strong, direct and very rapid flight. They are usually encountered singly along forest roads, small clearings, Orang-Asli villages, and small quarries within forested areas.

Males imbibe moisture from damp sand and rocks on riverbanks and roadsides. If disturbed they fly up rapidly but re-settle nearby on walls or tree trunks, assuming a downward-facing posture, with wings closed.

 

 

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