Visited the beautiful Butterfly Conservatory of Goa (Yashodhan Heblekar’s place) just after Christmas. It’s a very nice setup, great hospitality and good food. I spotted some very nice butterflies there.
Here is one which made a great impression on me – the Monkey-puzzle (Rathinda amor).
The BCGoa is located on the hill-slope of the Bhootkhamb plateau which has wet deciduous forest. The Monkey-puzzle was the most prominent lycaenid (blues family-member). It is quite small, not very much larger than the grass-blues. At that time of the day, noon, it was active in the shade under the trees. We saw at least twenty. The butterfly would land on a leaf, shuffle and waggle its tails.
The Monkey-puzzle has three tails on each hindwing, white-tipped and linear. There is a tornal spot on the hindwings near the tail. The tail complex can be considered to resemble the head and antennaes and are thought to confuse predators.
Often, butterfly-lovers are familiar with the vividly patterned underside of the Monkey-puzzle which is characteristic and unmistakeable. Strangely, above it is quite plain brown except for a few undistinguished spots. I attach an image of the upperside of Monkey-puzzle.
The Wikipedia article on the Monkey-puzzle ( read about the butterfly here : ) describes the butterfly above as :
“Upperside – The butterfly is dark brown. It has a white-spot end cell. It has narrow white spots on 2 and 3 which form a short band on the forewing. On the UPH it has two black tornal spots and narrow dark reddish spot above them.”
Notice : This is an excerpt of an email sent to ButterflyIndia email group which you must surely join if you are interested in Indian Butterflies.