Archive for the ‘Monkey-puzzle’ category

Meet the Monkey-Puzzle (Rathinda amor)

3 January 2011

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.

Bait placed at the verdant Butterfly Conservatory of Goa!

Here is one which made a great impression on me – the Monkey-puzzle (Rathinda amor).

Monkey-puzzle (Scientific name - Rathinda amor) (Image:Vijay Barve on Wikimedia Commons)

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.

Moist deciduous forest at Bhootkhamb plateau

Moist deciduous forest at Bhootkhamb plateau

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.”

Markings of upperside of the Monkey-puzzle butterfly (Rathinda amor). Bhootkhamb plateau, Pisgal, Ponda district, Goa, India.

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.

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