Thailand, Malaysia &
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - ADOLIADINI
The genus Euthalia
comprises of about 40-50 species, of which up to 18 occur in China
or in the south-east Holarctic region, and the remainder in the
Oriental region. The exact number of species has yet to be
determined as the genus is under review, and the status of many is
in doubt - some taxonomists regarding them as full species while
others consider them to be merely subspecies.
Many of the 16-20
species occurring in Malaysia are quite difficult to tell apart, and
identification is confounded by the fact that the males and females
of each species are usually very different in colour and pattern,
and because several of the species produce a number of different
colour forms or morphs.
The male of
Euthalia monina is illustrated above.
The female lacks the green iridescence, being a dull earthy brown
colour, beautifully patterned with numerous pale greyish markings on
the outer part of the wings. It closely resembles the female of
Euthalia monina is the commonest member
of the genus in Malaysia, and also occurs in Sikkim, Myanmar,
Thailand, Sumatra, Palawan, Kalimantan, Lombok and Java.
This species is found in small clearings and
glades, on river beaches, and along the wider trails in primary and
disturbed rainforest habitats, at elevations between sea level and
about 1000 metres.
There is very
little published information about the lifecycle of
monina, so the following is educated
guesswork based on the lifecycle of other
Euthalia species :
The eggs of
Euthalia species are normally laid
singly on the underside of leaves of the foodplants. They are very
strange in appearance, being dome-shaped and covered in a coarse
network of hexagonal depressions, the corners of which each bear a
hair-like protuberance, which in some species is tipped with what
appears to be a tiny drop of dew, but is in fact a minute glossy
hatching, the caterpillar devours its empty eggshell. Thereafter
depending on the species it feeds on the leaves of
Loranthus, Elytranthe (
Mangifera ( Anacardiaceae ),
Litchi ( Sapindaceae ) or various other
trees or woody parasitic plants. In Malaya and Singapore the larvae
have also been found on Clidemia hirta,
an invasive noxious weed imported from South America in the 19th
century by Koster, which has since earned itself the name of
The larva is
extraordinary, possessing a series of very long lateral spikes, each
of which is adorned with a double row of horizontal spikelets. The
body and spikes are yellowish in the early instars, but older larvae
are normally green, and marked along the back in some species with a
broad creamy stripe or a series of dark pink or yellow blotches.
Contrary to what might be expected from such a description it is
difficult to find, because the spikes break up the outline, merging
with the veins of the leaf and effectively make the larva
"disappear" when viewed from a distance.
which is suspended by the cremaster from a leaf, is diamond-shaped
in silhouette, and in cross section. It is pale green, with a
prominent pale cream transverse dorsal ridge.
Males are often
seen imbibing mineralised moisture from patches of damp ground, at
which times they usually hold their wings outspread. It often takes
them a few minutes to settle down and feed, during which time they
hop and walk about from one spot to another, slowly fanning their
wings. Females rarely settle on the ground, but are commonly seen
basking on the lower foliage of trees.
Euthalia monina monina,
male, Taman Negara, West Malaysia ©