Thailand, Malaysia &
Family - PIERIDAE
subfamily - PIERINAE
Prioneris philonome themana,
Gopeng, West Malaysia ©
There are 6 species in the genus
Prioneris, all endemic to the Oriental
region. They bear a strong superficial resemblance to the
Delias Jezebels. Both genera are
unpalatable to birds, so it seems likely that they form a Mullerian
Prioneris philonome is found in
peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Borneo and Java.
In Malaysia this species is found in disturbed
forest edge habitats including riverbanks, roadsides, plantations
and in the vicinity of villages at elevations between sea level and
about 400 metres.
I have no data
regarding the early stages of philonome,
but in the closely related sita the
larva is described as being a dull blue-green colour, with the head
and body segments dotted with minute blue tubercules. Most
Prioneris species are believed to feed
on Capparis ( Capparidaceae ).
The pupa of
sita is described as bright green in
colour, with an interrupted yellow dorsal line and a short curved
crimson line below the thoracic segments. It is sharply pointed at
the head, and has a thoracic keel. The pupa of
philonome is probably similar in shape and general colour.
philonome are usually seen in one's and
two's imbibing mineralised moisture from damp sand or gravel, often
in the company of Appias lyncida,
Eurema hecabe and other yellow Pieridae. The similar
Delias species on the other hand do not
normally visit damp ground, instead preferring to get their
sustenance from nectar.
Delias, are robust and powerful flyers, but nervous in
nature. If disturbed they have a habit of instantly dashing off,
only to resettle a few feet away, and if followed they then go back
to their original feeding place. This game of cat and mouse can go
on for a long time, so when attempting to photograph this gorgeous
species, sore knees and elbows are inevitable, and a lot of patience
is required !