Butterflies of Sharavathi River Basin
Sameer Ali
Energy & Wetlands Research Group,
Centre for Ecological Sciences,
Indian Institute of Sciences, Bangalore


Butterflies are the most tantalizing and beautiful creatures. Among the insect group, they are often regarded as flagship species. These are perhaps the most studied and well-known insect groups. Butterflies along with moths belong to the order Lepidoptera. In terms of indicator organisms for biodiversity studies butterflies are an excellent choice as they are common almost everywhere, attractive and easy to observe. The butterfly diversity is high in the tropics compared to temperate regions of the world. Their habitat ranges from arctic to the great deserts of the world. The butterflies are divided in to two super families viz., Papilionoidea constitutes 11,100 species and Hesperioidea constitutes 3,650 species in the world (Scott, 2001).

Ancient people carved images of butterflies into stones, and reckoned them as gods messengers. In the mythologies of diverse cultures today, they continue to be accorded a special status.

People around the world, scientists and nonscientists alike, are drawn to their flashing and diverse color patterns and elusive flight, their astonishing life histories and seemingly endless variety, and their fleeting appearance on nature’s stage. The origin of the word “butterfly” is obscure. To Chaucer, the word was boterflye; in old English, the word is buter-fleoge; in Dutch, botervlieg; in German, butterfliege. The Oxford English Dictionary offers the possibility that “ the insect was so called from the appearance of its excrement”. The ancient Greeks' word for the soul, psychē, was also their word for the butterfly, which was seen as an emblem of the immortal soul by reason of its passing through a kind of death in the pupa stage, and a resurrection in the adult (Scott, 2001). 


The brilliant colouring pattern in case of butterflies is due to the presence of scales on the wings, they are often arranged in an overlapping pattern or like tiles. Colouration in scales is due to the chemicals from the host plants during the larval stage or due to feeding on excreta by adult butterfly. Ribs and veins are the main supporting structures for butterfly wings.

Adult butterfly has specialized mouthparts called Haustellum or Proboscis. The mouthparts are modified for purpose of sucking nectar, nutrients etc. Proboscis is kept coiled in front and hidden completely or partly between the hairy labial palpi.

The head portion is completely occupied by a pair of compound eyes, composed of several thousand lenses and is useful in detecting short-range movements. A pair of antennae is situated between the eyes, which are having chemical receptors responsible in detecting the smell. 


Life Cycle

Butterflies develop from egg to pupa, and finally to adult, during metamorphosis. The advantage of metamorphosis is that it allows the larva and adult to live in different environmental conditions. Life stages of butterfly take different amount of time, of which the egg stage has least duration, while the pupal one being the longest. Several factors influence the process of metamorphosis viz., seasonal variation, size of the adult, temperature, etc. In case of Tamil Lacewing (Cethosia nietneri) it may take over a week to hatch and in some species of Blues the eggs lie dormant in the winter and hatch out in the spring. 


The eggs are fertilized after mating. The eggs, which vary in number in different species, are cylindrical, spherical, dome, or turban-shaped, variously coloured, and either smooth or beautifully sculptured. The female may produce only one or two large batches of eggs that are all laid together (e.g., the Pioneer), or produce many small batches, which are laid over a period of many days or weeks. Usually female, carefully examines the leaves and parts of plant (‘host plants’ or ‘food plants’ of caterpillar) on which it lays eggs. The eggs lay on the top or underneath the leaves, or on bud, or on the nearby plants so that the caterpillar does not have to search for appropriate host plant. 


After a certain period the caterpillar emerges from top of the egg. The caterpillar is the main feeding stage of butterfly and after hatching, it often eats the eggshell as its first meal: this gives it invaluable nutrients and also helps to remove evidence of egg, which may otherwise draw the attention of parasitoids. After the first meal of eggshell, different species of caterpillars feed on specific plant parts such as, young leaves, flower buds, old leaves, young shoots, roots and tender pods. Often caterpillars are found either feeding or sitting motionless and this activity of caterpillar is well concealed by its colouration. However, in case of Mottled Emigrant and Common Banded Awl, the caterpillar feed on all the edible green tissues of the host plant. With the exceptions, of Moth Butterfly. 

 Butterfly life cycle

(Liphyra brassolis), the Brownies (Gerydus) and the Ape Fly (Spalgis eplus), which feed on ant larvae, greenflies, and scale insects respectively (Blyth, 1982). 

Pupae or Chrysalis

A butterfly caterpillar casts off or moults its outer skin layer five times in its life span. The stage in between the moulting is called ‘instar’ and from every moulting the caterpillar grows bigger in size. After each moulting the moulted skin is eaten by the caterpillar. The growth is halted only when the caterpillar is about to pupate. The chrysalis or pupa is a transition stage made necessary by the structural differences between caterpillar and adult and by the need to endure long hibernation. Before pupation caterpillar may wander far from the plant on which it had been feeding, once it finds the suitable place for pupation like dense foliage, it weaves a dense pad of silk to which the pupa is later fixed. Then the caterpillar under go pupation by suspending to the silk pad and after moulting, the pupal skin hardens, tubercles or other projections and markings become distinct and the pupa gets its final form and colouration.  


An adult butterfly emerges from a pupa case (splitting down at the back of the pupa). The newly emerged individual will spread and dry its wings in the bright sunshine. The wings, which at first are wrinkled and shriveled, gradually expand as the blood is pumped through the veins. To begin with they hang limply, but as they harden they are opened and expand to the rays of the sun. This entire process is completed within half an hour and the butterfly is ready to fly off to find a mate. But in some butterflies, especially the Tigers and Crows (Danainae), male butterflies freshly emerged from their pupae search first for a certain species of plant rather than females. They congregate in large numbers on plants viz., Crotalaria, Heiotropum, and Aegeratum conyzoides, where they obtain alkaloids (Pyrrolizidine) from the flowers or sap. These alkaloids are essential to prime the scents, to be dispersed through the organs of the wings of the males that ensure successful courtship. Only after obtaining a sufficient supply of alkaloids the males go in search of females (Smetacek, 2000). 

Camouflage and Mimicry

Camouflaging is perhaps well adapted survival strategy in the butterflies. Species of Bush browns, Pansys and Evening Browns camouflage themselves amongst dry leaves. The Blue Oakleaf (Kallima horsfieldii) is a paragon of camouflage (Kunte, 2000). In most of the Indian species the camouflage resembles the dry and decaying leaves of the forest floor as in case of Evening browns. 

 Certain groups of palatable butterflies escape attack by imitating the distasteful species in appearance, habits and methods of flight. The mimicry is more pronounced in female compared to male. This may apply to both sides of the wings. This form of mimicry is called ‘Batesian Mimicry’. There is a second form of mimicry, called Mullerian mimicry, in which members of a distasteful group find it to their advantage to resemble one another in order to make their recognition by possible enemies an easier task. This phenomenon is more common in Blue Tigers and Crows (Blyth, 1982). 


The anatomically most “advanced” orders of insects made their appearance in the Mesozoic era. Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) appeared first in the Jurassic period, although they probably evolved considerably earlier. 

During the late Cretaceous and Cenozoic, Hymenopterans (especially bees) and lepidopterans become the important pollinators, and adaptive modification of flowers to suit different pollinators gave rise to the great floral diversity of modern plants.     


  1. Butterflies are the indicator species for the diversity representing particular vegetation/habitat.  

  2. Butterflies are sensitive to the changes in habitat and climate, which influences their distribution and abundance. This ultimately leads to the migration in butterflies. Classic example is the migration in Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) between North America and Mexico. In India, butterflies like Tigers, Crows and Albatross usually migrate during unfavorable conditions. 

  3. Wing patterns and colourations are helpful in studying seasonal variation. Dry season and wet season forms can be easily made out in some species like Evening browns, Bush browns etc. 

  4. Butterflies play pivotal role in the pollination, especially in some important angiosperms. While foraging for nectar, butterflies also carry pollens that help in pollination. 

  5. Butterflies are important prey species for birds, reptiles, and some invertebrates. 

  6. Some of them are useful tools in the study of genetics. 

  7. Apart from beneficial aspects, some butterflies feed on crops during their larval stages and wipeout the entire crops, posing a severe threat to human welfare. 

Conservation Problems and Some Measures

Conservation of butterflies and other insects, in contrast with that of vertebrates take less importance may be due to their population size and wide range of habitats. In India certain large butterflies (Swallowtails) are collected for ornamental purposes and illegal trading of these butterflies also takes place in few places like Himalayas and Northeast India (Kunte, 2000). But major threats to butterfly diversity and survival of some endangered species are: 

Habitat destruction by means of degradation and fragmentation has rendered to the species extinction in the tropics. They pose serious threats to survivability of vulnerable butterflies. River valley projects, encroachments and extensive monoculture plantations have degraded and fragmented the forests around the globe. And the tropical forests of the Western Ghats are also suffering in the similar manner, which harbors the maximum diversity of butterflies. In case of Sharavathi valley, the river valley projects, shifting cultivation, selective felling in the past have destroyed most of the pristine forests and destroyed the major habitats of the butterflies. 

Acacia, Casuarina, pine and teak plantations spread in the vast areas of the Sharavathi river basin have destroyed the habitats of butterflies. Grazing also had negative impact on butterfly habitat. Most of the Pierids and Hesperiides depend on the Grass sp., as larval host plants. Forest fire also destroys the destruction of natural forest and grassy blanks this in turn affects the tiny butterfly species. 

Measures to conserve butterflies

Compared to larger mammals the insect groups are totally neglected from conservation point of view. Except some wildlife protection laws, the butterflies are most neglected group of insects. The Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972 (amended in 1993) lists the butterfly conservation priority. Under this law, collection of butterflies from the wild, or any action leading to threatening their habitats, is prohibited (Kunte, 2000). Butterflies are listed in Schedule I, II, IV and V of WPA. The other conservation measures include the protection of forest and grassy blanks from encroachments and grazing, and creating butterfly parks and gardens by planting butterfly larval host plants. The larval host plants of some of the butterflies are listed at the end of the document. Possessing these plants in butterfly parks or gardens will ensure the host plants of the butterflies and enhance the conservation prospects of butterflies. 

In urban areas, gardens with larval host and adult nectar plants can attract many butterfly species. This procedure can also be implemented in the home gardens to attract butterflies.    

Butterfly diversity

Many species, both common and rare, can be easily and reliably identified in the field. They are also amongst the better-studied groups of organisms with availability of field guides. Further, their diversity and community composition are dependent on that of plants, as their caterpillars have strict dependence on specific host plants. As they undergo metamorphosis, ecologically they contribute more to local diversity because of their dual fundamental role than monomorphic organisms. Therefore, they should be given more prominence in diversity studies (Kunte et al., 1999). 

Butterfly diversity in India

The Crimson Rose (Pachliopta hector L.,) was the first endemic Indian butterfly to be named by Linnaeus in 1758 (earlier Papilio hector). Then afterwards many species were discovered and described from various museum collections, personal collections around the world. The most recently described species is the Nilgiri Grass Yellow (Eurema nilgiriensis) which was discovered by the Japanese researcher, Osamu Yata, in 1990. By this discovery the total population of India exceeds to 1,501 species. 

Butterfly diversity in Western Ghats

The Western Ghats comprises 330 species belonging to 166 genera and five families. Which comprises largest Southern Birdwing (Troides minos) with a wingspan of about 140-190mm to the smallest, the Grass Jewel (Freyeria trochylus) and Tiny Grass Blue (Zizula hylax) with wingspan only 15-22 mm and 16-24 mm respectively. Nymphalidae and Lycaenidae are the major families among the Western Ghats species. 

Butterfly diversity in the Sharavathi River Valley

The study was conducted in the entire Sharavathi River Basin (SRB) from Ambuthirtha to Honnavar. The study area is divided in to catchment like, Linganamakki Upstream catchment and down stream catchment i.e., from Jog to Honnavar. The upstream area lies between latitude 13°43¢24¢¢N to 14°11¢57 N¢¢ and longitude 75°40¢58¢¢ E to 75°18¢34¢¢ E in the Shimoga district of Karnataka state. It lies at an elevation of 512 m (Linganamakki dam) to 1343 m (Kodachadri hills). The down stream area lies between 14°08¢27¢¢ N to 14°25¢40¢¢ N and Longitude 74°24¢31¢¢ E to 74°52¢10¢¢ E in the Shimoga and Uttara Kannada Districts of Karnataka State. 

Linganamakki upstream area extends over an area of 1991 sq. km (769 sq. miles) and includes a large part of Sharavathi wildlife sanctuary (sanctuary area 431 sq. km out of which an area of 123.63 sq. km is under the water spread of Sharavathi reservoir). The down stream catchment spread over Uttara Kannada and Shimoga district extends over an area of 884 sq. km. And includes a large part of Sharavathi wildlife sanctuary (sanctuary area 431 sq. km) and also Tail Race hydro-electric Project having a submerged forest area of about 472 ha. 

Butterfly diversity is high in both the areas. Sharavathi river basin comprises five butterfly families and constitutes 173 species. 

Family: Papilionidae

Papilionidae is the smallest butterfly family with about 700 species (4% of global butterfly diversity), but has a worldwide distribution. India harbours 107 species and Peninsular India has 19 species. 

The Sharavathi river basin (SRB) comprises all the 19 species of which, 2 are endangered, 5 are endemic to Western Ghats and 3 with shared endemic of Peninsular India and Sri Lanka. The Western Ghats species are classified under sub-family Papilioninae. 

Papilionidae: Papilioninae: Troidini 


Common Name

Troides minos Cramer

Southern Birdwing (WG)

Pachliopta pandiyana Moore

Malabar Rose (WG)

Pachliopta aristolochiae Fabricius

Common Rose

Pachliopta hector L.,*

Crimson Rose (PI&SL)

Papilionidae: Papilioninae: Leptocircini 

Graphium sarpedon L.,

Common Bluebottle

Graphium doson C&R Felder

Common Jay

Graphium agamemnon L.,

Tailed Jay

Graphium nomius Esper

Spot Sword Tail

Graphium antiphates Cramer

Fivebar Swordtail

 Papilionidae: Papilioninae: Papilioninii 

Papilio clytia L.,

Common Mime

Papilio demoleus L.,

Lime Butterfly

Papilio liomedon Moore *

Malabar Banded Swallow Tail (WG)

Papilio dravidarum Wood-Mason

Malabar Raven (WG)

Papilio helenus L.,

Red Helen

Papilio polytes L.,

Common Mormon

Papilio polymnestor Cramer

Blue Mormon (PI&SL)

Papilio paris L.,

Paris Peacock

Papilio buddha Westwood

Buddha Peacock

Papilio crino Fabricius

Common Banded Peacock

 Family: Pieridae

Family Pieridae has some of the most familiar butterflies. There are 109 species recorded in India, which are 7.26% of the Indian butterflies. Over 35 species represent this family in peninsular India. This family comprises 33 species in Western Ghats of which 23 species are found in the SRB. Two species are shared endemic of Peninsular India and Sri Lanka.

 Pieridae: Coliadinae: Coliadini 

Catopsilia pomona Fabricius

Common Emigrant

Catopsilia pyranthe L.,

Mottled Emigrant

Eurema brigitta Cramer

Small Grass Yellow

Eurema laeta Boisduval

Spotless Grass Yellow

Eurema hecabe L.,

Common Grass Yellow

Eurema blanda Boisduval

Three-spot Grass Yellow

Eurema andersoni

One spot Grass Yellow

 Pieridae: Pierinae: Pierini 

Delias eucharis Drury

Common Jezebel (PI & SL)

Leptosia nina Fabricius


Pieris canidia L.,

Indian Cabbage White

Cepora nerissa Fabricius

Common Gull

Anaphaeis aurota Fabricius

Caper White or Pioneer

Appias indra Moore

Plain Puffin

Appias libythea Fabricius

Striped Albatross

Appias albina Boisduval

Common Albatross

Colotis etrida Boisduval

Small Orange Tip

Colotis eucharis Fabricius

Plain Orange Tip

Colotis danae Fabricius

Crimson Tip

Ixias marianne Cramer

White Orange Tip

Ixias pyrene L.,

Yellow Orange Tip

 Pieridae: Pierinae: Euchlocini 

Pareronia valeria Cramer

Common wanderer

Pareronia ceylanica C&R Felder

Dark Wanderer (PI&SL)

Hebomoea glaucippe L.,

Great Orange Tip

 Family: Nymphalidae

Butterflies of this family are popularly known as the “Brush-footed butterflies”, one of the world’s largest and most widespread butterfly family. India has over 520 species and the Western Ghats has 96 species. This family is well distributed in the SRB with 65 species. Three species are endemic to the Western Ghats, 6 species have shared endemism of Peninsular India and Sri Lanka and 2 are endangered.

 Nymphalidae: Satyrinae: Melanitini 

Melanitis leda L.,

Common Evening Brown

Melanitis zitenius Herbst

Great Evening Brown

Melanitis phedima Stoll

Dark Evening Brown

 Nymphalidae: Satyrinae: Elymniini 

Elymnias hypermenstra L.,

Common Palmfly

Lethe europa

Bamboo Tree Brown

Lethe rohria

Common Tree Brown

Mycalesis anaxias Hewitson

White-bar Bushbrown

Mycalesis mineus L.,

Dark-brand Bushbrown

Mycalesis perseus Fabricius

Common Bushbrown

Mycalesis subdita Moore

Tamil Bushbrown

Mycalesis patnia Moore

Glad-eye Bushbrown (PI&SL)

Orsotrioena medus Fabricius

The Nigger

Zipoetis saitis

Tamil Catseye (WG)

 Nymphalidae: Satyrinae: Satyrini 

Ypthima asterope Klug

Common Three-ring

Ypthima hiiebneri Kirby

Common Four-ring

Ypthima baldus Fabricius

Common Five-ring

Ypthima sp.


 Nymphalidae: Charaxinae: Charaxini 

Polyura athamas Drury

Common Nawab

Polyura schreiber *

Blue Nawab (PI&SL)

Charaxes bernardus

Tawny Rajah

Charaxes dolon Fabricius

Black Rajah

 Nymphalidae: Heliconiinae: Acraeini 

Acraea violae Fabricius

Tawny Coster

 Nymphalidae: Heliconiinae: Heliconiini 

Cethosia nietneri C&R Felder

Tamil Lacewing (PI&SL)

Vindula erota Fabricius


 Nymphalidae: Heliconiinae: Argynnini 

Cupha erymanthis Drury


Phalanta phalantha Drury

Common Leopard

Cirrochroa thais Fabricius

Tamil Yeoman (PI&SL)

Argyreus hyperbius L.,

Indian Fritillary

 Nymphalidae: Aparturinae 

Euripus consimilis

Painted Courtesan

Nymphalidae: Limenitinae: Neptini 

Neptis jumbah Moore

Chestnut-streaked Sailer

Neptis hylas Moore

Common Sailer

Pantoporia hordonia Stoll

Common Lascar

 Nymphalidae: Limenitinae: Limetini 

Athyma perius L.,

Common Sergeant

Athyma nefte

Colour Sargeant

Athyma ranga Moore

Blackvein Sergeant

Limenitis procris Cramer


 Nymphalidae: Limenitinae: Parthenini 

Parthenos sylvia Cramer


 Nymphalidae: Limenitinae: Euthaliinii 

Tanaecia lepidea Butler

Grey Count

Euthalia aconthea Cramer

Common Baron

Euthalia nais Forster

Red Baron or Baronet (PI&SL)

Dolpha evelina Stoll

Red-spot Duke

 Nymphalidae: Limenitinae: Biblini 

Byblia ilithyia


Ariadne merione Cramer

Common Castor

Ariadne ariadne L.,

Angled Castor

 Nymphalidae: Limenitinae: Marpesiini 

Cyrestis thyodamas


 Nymphalidae: Libytheinae 

Libythea lepita Moore

Common Beak

 Nymphalidae: Nymphalinae: Nymphalini 

Junonia hierta Fabricius

Yellow Pansy

Junonia orithya L.,

Blue Pansy

Junonia lemonias L.,

Lemon Pansy

Junonia almana L.,

Peacock Pansy

Junonia atlites L.,

Grey Pansy

Junonia iphita Cramer

Chocolate Pansy

Kaniska canace

Blue Admiral

Cynthia cardui L.,

Painted Lady

Hypolimnas bolina L.,

Great Eggfly

Hypolimnas misippus L., *

 Danaid Eggfly (PI&SL)

Doleschallia bisaltide

Autumn Leaf

Kallima horsfieldi Kollar

South Indian Blue Oak Leaf (WG)

 Nymphalidae: Danainae: Danaini 

Parantica aglea Stoll

Glassy Blue Tiger

Tirumala limniace Cramer

Blue Tiger

Tirumala septentrionis Butler

Dark Blue Tiger

Danaus chrysippus L.,

Plain Tiger

Danaus genutia Cramer

Striped Tiger

 Nymphalidae: Danainae: Euploeini 

Euploea core Cramer

Common Indian Crow

Idea malabarica Moore

Malabar Tree Nymph (WG)

 Family: Lycaenidae

Lycaenidae along with Nymphalidae comprises about 6,000 species worldwide. India has approximately 450 species (21% of total butterflies of India). Lycaenidae is represented by 101 species in Western Ghats complex of which 38 species are found in the SRB. Indian Sunbeam is shared endemic of Peninsular India and Sri Lanka.

 Lycaenidae: Riodininae: Riodinini 

Abisara echerius Stoll

Plum Judy

 Lycaenidae: Miletinae: Spalgini 

Spalgis epius WestWood


 Lycaenidae: Polymmatinae: Polymmatini 

Castalius rosimon Fabricius

Common Pierrot

Caleta caleta Hewitson

Angled Pierrot

Discolampa ethion Doubleday & Hewitson

Banded Blue Pierrot

Leptotes plinius Fabricius

Zebra Blue

Azanus ubaldus

Bright Babul Blue

Everes lacturnus Godart

Indian Cupid

Actolepis puspa Horsfield

Common Hedge Blue

Neopithecops zalmora Butler


Pseudozizeeria maha Kollar

Pale Grass Blue

Zizeeria karsandra Moore

Dark Grass Blue

Zizina otis Fabricius

Lesser Grass Blue

Zizula hylax Fabricius

Tiny  Grass Blue

Chilades laius Stoll

Lime Blue

Freyeria trochylus Freyer

Grass Jewel

Lampides boeticus L.,

Pea Blue

Jamides bochus Cramer

Dark Cerulean

Jamides celeno Cramer

Common Cerulean

Jamides alecto Felder

Metallic Cerulean

Nacaduba pactolus

Large four line blue

Nacaduba hermus

Pale-4 line Blue

Prosotas nora C & R Felder

Common Lineblue

Prosotas dubiosa

Tailless Lineblue

Talicada nyseus Guerin-Meneville

Red Pierrot

 Lycaenidae: Theclinae: Arhopalini 

Arhopala amantes Hewitson

Large Oakblue

Thaduka multicaudata Moore

Many-tailed Oakblue

 Lycaenidae: Theclinae: Amblypodiini 

Iraota timoleon Stoll

Silverstreak Blue

Amblypodia anita Hewitson

Leaf Blue

 Lycaenidae: Theclinae: Aphnaeini 

Spindasis vulcanus Fabricius

Common Silverline

 Lycaenidae: Theclinae: Loxurini 

Loxura atymnus


 Lycaenidae: Theclinae: Horagini 

Rathinda amor

Monkey Puzzle

 Lycaenidae: Theclinae: Hypolycaenini 

Zeltus amasa

Fluffy tit

 Lycaenidae: Theclinae: Deudorigini 

Deudorix epijarbas


Deudorix isocrates

Common Guva Blue

Rapala manea Hewitson

Slate Flash

Rapala varuna Moore

Indigo Flash

 Lycaenidae: Curetinae 

Curetis thetis

Indian Sunbeam (PI&SL)

Family: Hesperiidae

The family Hesperiidae, popularly known as the family of “Skippers”, is characterized by antennae with hooks at the tip. This is the third largest family of butterflies in the world. There are about 3,650 species in the world and over 320 in India. Thus, Skippers constitute about 21% of the Indian butterfly fauna. In peninsular India this family constitute over 90 species. This family represented by 81 species in the Western Ghats of which 28 species are found in the SRB. Spotted Small Flat is endemic to the Western Ghats.

 Hesperiidae: Coeliadinae 

Bibasis sena Moore

Orange Tail Awl

Hasora chromus Cramer

Common Banded Awl

Hasora badra Moore

Common Awl

Badamia exclamationis Fabricius

Brown awl

 Hesperiidae: Pyrginae 

Celaenorrhinus leucocera Kollar

Common Spotted Flat

Celaenorrhinus ambareesa Moore

Malabar Spotted Flat

Tagiades japetus Cramer

Common Snow Flat

Tagiades litigiosa Moschler

Water Snow Flat

Tagiades gana Moore

Immaculate or Suffused Snow Flat

Pseudocoladenia dan Fabricius

Fulvous Pied Flat

Coladenia indrani Moore

Tricolor Pied Flat

Sarangesa dasahara Moore

Common Small Flat

Sarangesa purendra Moore

Spotted Small Flat (WG)

Odontoptilum angulatum C&R Felder

Chestnut or Banded Angle

Spialia galba Fabricius

Indian Grizzled Skipper

Hesperiidae: Hesperiinae 

Ampittia dioscorides

Bush Hopper

Halpe porus

Moore's ace

Lambrix salsala Moore

Chestnut Bob

Notocrypta paralysos Wood-Mason & de Niceville

Common Banded Demon

Notocrypta curvifascia C & R Felder

Restricted Demon

Udaspes folus Cramer

Grass Demon

Suastus gremius Fabricius

Indian Palm Bob

Suastus sp.


Gangara thyrsis Fabricius

Giant Redeye

Taractrocera maevius Fabricius

Common Grass Dart

Talicota colon Fabricius

Pale Palm Dart

Borbo cinnara Wallace

Rice Swift

Pelopidas mathias

Small branded swift

Note: * indicates Endangered species (Wildlife Protection Act, 1972)
WG indicates Western Ghats endemic
PI & SL indicates Endemic to Peninsular India and Sri Lanka.

 Larval host plants of some of the butterflies of SRB 

Common Name

Larval host plant

Angled Castor

Ricinus communis, Tragia involucrata and T. plukenetti.

Angled Pierrot

Ziziphus rugosa.

Banded Blue Pierrot

Ziziphus oenoplia, Z.mauritiana and Z. xylopyrus.

Black Rajah

Tamarindus indica.

Black vein Sergeant

Chionanthus mala-elengi, Olea dioica

Blue Mormon

Atlantia racemosa, A. wightii, Citrus Sp., Glycosmis arborea, Paramigyna monophylla and

Blue Pansy

Acanthus Sp., Barleria Sp., Hygrophila auriculata, Justicia procumbens, J. neesii, Lepidagathis prostrata and Antirrhinum orontium.

Blue Tiger

Wattakaka volubilis, Asclepias curassavica, Calotropis gigantea, Hoya Sp. and Tylophora indica.

Brown awl

Combretum albidum, C. latifolium and Terminalia bellarica.

Buddha Peacock

Zanthoxylum rhetsa

Caper White or Pioneer

Capparis rheedii, C. zeylanica, Cadaba fruticosa, C. spinosa, C. sepiaria, C. pyrifolia, C. decidua and Maerua oblongifolia.

Chestnut Bob

Grass Sp. and Bamboo Sp. (in which Bambusa arundinaceae is recorded).

Chocolate Pansy

Hygrophila auriculata, Justicia neesii, Carvia callosa.


Adenia hondala,  
Tinospora cardifolia


Neolamarckia cadamba, Cadaba fruticosa, Hedyotis orixense, Mitragyna parviflora, Mussaenda frondosa, Ochreinauclea missionis, Wendlandia exserta and W. thyrsoidea.


Grass Sp.

Common Albatross

Drypetes oblongifolia, D. roxburghii and D. venusta.

Common Banded Awl

Pongamia pinnata, Ricinus communis and Trichilia connaroides.

Common Banded Peacock

Chloroxylon swietenia

Common Baron

Mangifera indica, Anacardium occidentale, Streblus aspera.

Common Bluebottle

Alseodaphne semecarpifolia, Cinnamomum macrocarpum, Polyalthia longifolia, Persea macrantha and Litsea Sp.

Common Bushbrown

Oplismenus compositus and Oryza Sp.

Common Castor

Ricinus communis, Tragia involucrata and T. plukenetii.

Common Cerulean

Butea monosperma, Elettaria cardamomum, Phaseolus adenanthus, Pongamia pinnata, Saraca asoca, Trichilia connaroides and Xylia xylocarpa.

Common Emigrant

Butea frondosa, Bauhinia racemosa, Cassia fistula, C. tora and C. siamea.

Common Evening Brown

Apluda Sp, Cryptococcum Sp., Eleusine Sp., Oplismenus compositus, Oryza sativa, Panicum Sp., Sorghum Sp. and Zea mays.

Common Five-ring

Grass Sp.

Common Four-ring

Grass Sp.

Common Grass Yellow

Acacia Sp., Albizzia Sp., Caesalpinia Sp., Cassia fistula, C.tora, Sesbania bispinosa and Pithecellobium dulce.

Common gull

Capparis rheedii, C. zeylanica, Cadaba fruticosa, C. sepiaria, C. decidua and Maerua oblongifolia.

Common Hedge Blue

Paracalyx scariosa, Schleichera oleosa and Xylia xylocarpa.

Common Indian Crow

Ficus racemosa, F. benghalensis, F. religiosa, Nerium odorum, N. oleander, Cryptolepis buchanani, Hemidesmus indicus, Holarrhena pubescens, Ichnocarpus frutescence, Streblus aspera, Cryptolepis elegans and Tylophora indica.

Common Jay

Annona lawii,  
Cinnamomum macrocarpum, Polyalthia longifolia, Magnolia grandiflora
and Michelia champaca.

Common Jezebel

Dendrophthoe falcata, Scurrula parasitica, Viscum Sp. and Helixanthera intermedia

Common Leopard

Flacourtia montana, F. indica, Smilax Sp., Salix Sp., Xylosma longifolium.

Common Lineblue

Acacia caesia, A. catechue and Pithecellobium dulce.

Common Mime

Alseodaphne semecarpifolia, Cinnamomum macrocarpum, Polyalthia longifolia and Litsea Sp.

Common Mormon

Citrus Sp., Glycosmis arborea, Atlantia racemosa, Aegle marmelos, Murraya koenigii, Murraya paniculata and Zanthoxylum rhetsa.

Common Palmfly

Areca catechu, Arenga wightii, Calamus Sp., Cocos nucifera and Phoenix Sp.

Common Pierrot

Ziziphus rugosa, Z. mauritiana.

Common Rose

A. indica,A. bractiola, A. tagala and Thottea siliquosa

Common Sailer

Bombax ceiba, Canavalia gladiata, Corchorus Sp., Flemingia Sp., Grewia Sp., Helicteres isora, Lathyrus Sp., Mucuna purpurea, Nothapodytes nimmoniana, Paracalyx scariosa, Triumfetta Sp., Vigna cylindrica, V. unguiculata and Xylia xylocarpa.

Common Sergeant

Glochidion lanceolarum, G. velutinum and Phylianthus Sp.

Common Silverline

Allophylus cobbe, Cadaba fruticosa, Canthium coromandelicum, Clerodendrum indicum, Ziziphus rugosa and Z. mauritiana

Common wanderer

Capparis rheedii and C. zeylanica

Crimson Rose

A. indica, A. bractiola and Thottea siliquosa

Crimson Tip

Cadaba fruticosa, Capparis divaricata, C. grandis, C. sepiaria and C. ophylla.


Adenia hondala.

Danaid Eggfly

Portulaca oleracea, Asystacia lawiana, Abelmoschus Sp., Abutilon Sp., Barleria cristata and Hibiscus Sp.

Dark Blue Tiger

Wattakaka volubilis, Vallaris heynei.

Dark Evening Brown

Apluda Sp., Cryptococcum Sp., Eleusine Sp., Oplismenus compositus, Oryza sativa, Panicum Sp., Sorghum Sp. and Zea mays.

Dark-brand Bushbrown

Grass Sp.

Giant Redeye

Calamus rotang, Caryota urens, Cocos nucifera, Licuala grandis, Phoenix acaulis, P. lourierii.

Glad-eye Bushbrown

Oryza Sp.

Glassy Blue Tiger

Calotropis gigantea, Ceropegia bulbosa, Cryptolepis buchanani, Tylophora indica and T. tenuis.

Great Eggfly

Sida rhombifolia, Portulaca oleracea.

Great Evening Brown

Bamboo Sp.

Grey Count

Careya arborea, Melastoma malabathricum.

Grey Pansy

Barleria Sp., Hygrophila auriculata.

Indian Cabbage White

Some plants belonging to the family Cruciferae.

Indian Cupid

Lotus corniculatus

Indian Fritillary

Viola Sp.

Indian Grizzled Skipper

Hibiscus Sp., Sida rhombifolia, Waltheria indica.

Indigo Flash

Lantana camara, Quisqualis indica, Sapindus laurifolia, Ziziphus rugosa, Z. xylopyrus.

Large Oakblue

Species of Terminalia (T. alata, T. catappa and T. paniculata), Lagerstroemia microcarpa, L. reginae and Xylia xylocarpa.

Lemon Pansy

Barleria Sp., Cannabis sativa, Corchorus capsularis, Hygrophila auriculata, Nelsonia canescens and Sida rhombifolia.

Lime Blue

Atlantia racemosa, A. wightii, Citrus limon, C. sinensis and Naringi crenulata.

Lime Butterfly

Citrus Sp., Murraya koenigii,Glycosmis arborea,Atlantia racemosa, Aegle marmelos, Luvanga Sp.,  Chloroxylon swietenia, Zanthoxylum Sp., and Acronychia Sp.

Malabar Banded Swallow Tail

Acronychia pedunculata and Euodia lunu-akenda.

Malabar Raven

Glycosmis arborea

Malabar Rose

Thottea siliquosa

Malabar Tree Nymph

Aganosoma cymosa.

Mottled Emigrant

Cassia auriculata, C. fistula, C. tora, C. occidentalis, Sesbania bispinosa and Gnidia glauca.

Painted Lady

Artemisia Sp., Blumea Sp., Debregeasia bicolor, Gnaphalium Sp., Tricholepis Sp. and Zornia gibbosa.

Pale Grass Blue

Nelsonia canescens, Oxalis corniculata, Tephrosia pauciflora.

Pale Palm Dart

Bamboo Sp.

Paris Peacock

Citrus Sp., Euodia lunu-akenda, Toddalia asiatica and Zanthoxylum ovalifolium.

Pea Blue

Butea monosperma, Crotalaria Sp., Pisum sativum, Vigna sinensis and species of gram.

Peacock Pansy

Acanthus Sp., Barleria Sp., Gloxinia Sp., Hygrophila auriculata and Phyla nodiflora.

Plain Puffin

Drypetes Sp.

Plain Tiger

Calotropis gigantea, Asclepias curassavica and Cryptolepis buchnani.


Capparis rheedii, C. spinosa, C. zeylanica, Cleome viscosa.


Glycosmis arborea.

Red Baron or Baronet

Diospyros melanoxylon, Shorea robusta.

Red Helen

Citrus Sp., Clausena heptaphylla, Euodia Sp., Glycosmis arborea, Toddalia asiatica, Phellodendron Sp. And Zanthoxylum rhetsa.

Red Pierrot

Kalanchoe laciniata and  
K. pinnata.

Red-spot Duke

Anacardium occidentale, Diospyros candolleana,  
 D. melanoxylon

Restricted Demon

Costus speciosus, Curcuma decipiens, Hedychium (?), Kaempferia rotunda and Zingiber montanum.


Flacourtia montana, F. indica.

Slate Flash

Sorbaria sorbifolia, Antidesma acidum, A. ghaesembilla, Ziziphus Sp., Quisqualis indica, Camelia sinensis, Acacia megaladena, A. pennata and A. torta.

Small Grass Yellow

Cassia kleinii.

Small Orange Tip

Cadaba fruticosa, Maerua oblongifolia and Capparis sepiaria

Southern Birdwing

Aristolochia indica,  
A. bractiola, A. tagala
and Thottea siliquosa

Spot Sword Tail

Polyalthia longifolia and Paramigyna monophylla.

Spotless Grass Yellow

Cassia fistula.

Striped Tiger

Asclepias curassavica, Ceropegia intermedia, Stephanotis Sp. and Tylophora tenuis.

Tailed Jay

Annona Sp., Cinnamomum macrocarpum, Polyalthia longifolia, Michelia champaca , Artabotrys Sp. And A. hexapetalus

Tamil Lacewing

Adenia hondala, Passiflora edulis and P. subpeltata.

Tamil Yeoman

Hydnocarpus pentandra.

Tawny Coster

Adenia hondala, Passiflora edulis, P. foetida and P. subpeltata.

The Dark Wandere

Capparis rheedii

The Great Orange Tip

Capparis moonii, C. spinosa, C. cleghornii, Crateva adansonii and C. magna.

The Nigger

Imperata Sp. and Oryza sativa

Three-spot Grass Yellow

Albizzia Sp., Cassia fistula, Delonix regia and Pithecellobium dulce.

Water Snow Flat

Dioscorea oppositifolia and Smilax Sp.

White Orange Tip

Capparis decidua, C. divaricata, C. grandis and C, sepiaria.

White-bar Bushbrown

Grass Sp.

Yellow Orange Tip

Capparis sepiaria

Yellow Pansy

Barleria Sp., Hygrophila auriculata.

Zebra Blue

Albizzia lebbek, Sesbania bispinosa, Indigofera Sp., Plumbago zeylanica, Dyerophytum indicum and Mimosa Sp.