Butterflies of Thailand, Malaysia & Borneo
Fluffy Tit
Zeltus amasa HEWITSON, 1865
subfamily - THECLINAE
subtribe - IOLAINI

Zeltus amasa, Taman Negara national park, West Malaysia  Adrian Hoskins
There are several hundred Lycaenid species in the Oriental region, including about 270 members of the Theclinae, which includes amongst others, the Oak Blues ( Arhopala ), the Hairstreaks, and the long-tailed Hypolycaena, Jacoona, Suasa, Cheritra, Eooxylides and Zeltus species.
Amongst the latter long-tailed group there are many south-east Asian species with underside patterns similar to the butterfly illustrated. These include Hypolycaena tora, Suasa lisides, Sinthusa nasaka, and the nominate species Zeltus amasa. Of these only lisides and amasa occur in Malaysia. Both species have dark brown uppersides with a powdery blue suffusion over the basal area of both wings, but the undersides are sufficiently different for easy identification - only amasa has orange on the hindwings.
Zeltus amasa is found in India, Burma, Thailand, West Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, Java and the Philippines.

Zeltus amasa, Ulu Gerok, West Malaysia  Adrian Hoskins
This species occurs in lowland rainforest habitats at elevations between sea level and about 800m.
The fully grown caterpillar is green, and covered in a layer of short fine hairs. The foodplant is unknown, but larvae of the very closely related genus Chliaria feed on the flowers of orchids.

Zeltus amasa, Taman Negara national park, West Malaysia  Adrian Hoskins
Adult behaviour

The butterflies are almost always seen singly, but are not uncommon. Males often sit on the foliage of bushes, and visit damp sand, particularly if covered in decomposing leaf litter. I have also found them feeding at bird droppings on the forest floor.

In dappled sunlight both sexes will bask with the wings outspread, displaying the intense reflective powder-blue scales which cover the basal area of the forewings and the distal area of the hindwings.



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