Harlequin (Taxila haquinus)
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
Description and Identification
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.
- Family: Riodinidae
- Genus: Taxila
- Common names: Orange Harlequin
- Scientific Name: Taxila haquinus
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.
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.
Average wingspan: 45 mm
Flight pattern: Fast; at a low to medium height from the ground
Pale translucent yellow in color and conical in shape laid singly on the host plant leaf
|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.