Home / Metalmark (Riodinidae) / Harlequin (Taxila haquinus)

Harlequin (Taxila haquinus)

Harlequin Butterfly
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Harlequin butterflies are common in a limited part of the Indian subcontinent. These are small, brightly colored butterflies that get their common name from an Italian costume pattern known as ‘Harlequin’. Interestingly, these butterflies prefer shady areas, and are often seen walking on the leaf surfaces with half-opened wings.

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

Harlequin Butterfly Caterpillar
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The larvae have a translucent greenish white body with some black portion. The body has pairs of fine hair-like growths in gray, white and black.

Scientific Classification


  • Family: Riodinidae
  • Genus: Taxila
  • Common names: Orange Harlequin
  • Scientific Name: Taxila haquinus

Pupa

Harlequin Butterfly Pupa
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The chrysalis is bright green in color with patches and light marks in purple in the initial stages but turns black or dark gray when mature.

Adult Butterfly

Sexual Dimorphism: Distinctly present

Color and Appearance: When the wings are open, the male displays a dark brown coloration except for the sub-apical region of the forewings that have a pale reddish brown hue; the females have a reddish-brown base color dotted with black spots and a sub-apical band in white. When the wings are closed, both the sexes exhibit a reddish brown color with a considerable number of metallic white spots and black spots with white edges. The females have a wider and more distinct sub-apical patch in white on the underside of the forewing.

Taxila haquinus
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Orange Harlequin Butterfly
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Average wingspan: 45 mm

Flight pattern: Fast; at a low to medium height from the ground

Eggs

Harlequin Butterfly Eggs
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Pale translucent yellow in color and conical in shape laid singly on the host plant leaf

Quick Facts

Distribution From eastern parts of India to Palawan, and southern regions of Java
Habitat Shaded areas in the forests, fields, gardens, and grasslands
Host plants In Central America: Passion flower species Passiflora oerstedii and Passiflora menispermifolia Elsewhere: Various passion flower species
Adult diet Flower nectar, pollen, ripe/rotting fruits

Did You Know?

  • It is the only species in its genus Taxila.
  • The generic name of the butterfly, Taxila, comes from the famous region of the ancient Taxila University in eastern India with the same name.
Female Harlequin butterfly
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Male Harlequin butterfly
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Harlequin Butterfly Images
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