Butterflies of India & South Asia

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Butterflies of India & South Asia – A Special Exhibition for 2017

India is home to approximately 1,800 species and subspecies of butterflies. Of those species between 15-20{445e89025a4c50fcfeeac19430422221da6859948fb46c166dae93841e3a783b} are native to the area. This makes India a hotspot for butterfly diversity and conservation. A few of the butterflies we had flying during this exhibit include:

Common Lime Swallowtail

Papilio demoleus

This beautiful butterfly is sure to catch your eye with its checkered patterning! The name of a butterfly can tell you a lot about it. In the case of the lime swallowtail their name describes the citrus host plants they lay their eggs on. Unlike most swallowtails they do not have tails on their wings as their name would otherwise suggest. They are known to be strong fliers and even change their mode of flight depending on the time of day which they are flying. In the cooler morning they have a slow flight and as it heats up they will fly straight and low making them a great butterfly to look out for. In the hottest part of the day you can find them on wet patches of ground imbibing the moisture and staying motionless unless disturbed.

Blue Clipper

Parthenos sylvia

The blue clipper is an exceptionally widely distributed butterfly being found across India and South Asia to the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. Powerful and fast flyers, they alternate between short bursts of gliding to rapid wing beats, you’ll definitely know one if you see one! Both males and females can often be seen feeding on lantana. Males can also be seen landing on the wet ground where they suck up the fluids to obtain necessary nutrients. We call this behaviour ‘puddling’.

Malay Cruiser

Vindula dejone

Cruising around the Conservatory, you are certain to spot this bold butterfly. Males and females are different colours, the males are a bright orange and the females are grey with a white band. Males can usually be seen puddling on the wet ground. They like to feed on rotting fruit and when feeding usually keep their wings spread open.