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Butterflies of Thailand, Malaysia & Borneo
Orange Harlequin
Taxila haquinus  FABRICIUS, 1793
Family - RIODINIDAE
subfamily - RIODININAE
Tribe - RIODININI

Taxila haquinus, Taman Negara, West Malaysia  Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
The name Taxila is an anagram of another Riodinid genus Laxita - it is common practice among the less imaginative taxonomists to create anagrammatical names for new genera, if they are closely related to an existing one.
The genus Taxila was erected to house 2 species haquinus and dora which differ from Laxita in that the genitalia of the males are of a different shape. In order to ensure that each species only breeds with others of its own type, every species of butterfly has uniquely shaped genitalia - the male key only fitting the correct female lock. Any 2 or more species with the same design of genitalia must therefore be very closely related, and so are placed in the same genus. The reverse is equally true - any species that have differently shaped genitalia will be unable to copulate with each other, and so must belong to a different genus.
Taxila haquinus is widespread in south-east Asia, being found in Assam, Myanmar, Thailand, West Malaysia, Sumatra, Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, Kalimantan, Palawan and Java.
Habitats
This species is found in primary rainforest, often close to rivers or waterfalls, at elevations between about 100-500 metres.
Lifecycle
The pale yellowish-green eggs are almost spherical but slightly flattened at the base. They are laid singly on the underside of a leaf of the foodplant.
The caterpillar when young is pale yellowish green with the darker green internal parts visible through the translucent skin, which bears numerous long setae. It feeds nocturnally, nibbling out tiny holes in the leaves of its foodplant Ardisia elliptica ( Myrsinaceae ) - an evergreen tree known as shoebutton.
When fully grown it is a dirty reddish colour, with suffused pale dots, and a thin whitish dorsal line, edged either side with dark grey. On each body segment, apart from the anal segment, there is a large fleshy lateral protrusion, from which emerges a tuft of setae.
The chrysalis is bright yellowish-green, decorated with many darker green spots, and has tufts of setae emerging from each body segment. It is formed on the under surface of a leaf.
Adult behaviour
Orange Harlequins are usually found singly, in shady areas of dense forest, close to streams or rivers. The females have a habit of flitting from leaf to leaf and stopping with half-opened wings whilst walking jerkily over the leaf surface.
 

 

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