Leopard (Phalanta phalantha)
Found in six subspecies, the Leopard Butterfly is a species of very common bright orange Nymphalid that loves hovering through the sunlight, and often avoid shades. They are extremely active and are seen hopping from flower to flower in search of nectar.
- Family: Nymphalidae
- Genus: Phalanta
- Common names: Common leopard butterfly, spotted rustic butterfly
- Scientific Name: Phalanta phalantha
Description and Identification
Caterpillars are bright green, with small and black antenna-like spikes spread all over the body, uniformly. After hatching, the caterpillars (larvae) live on the host plants until they are ready to metamorphose into a pupa.
The cocoon is greenish to yellow-green with its length being 14 to 18 mm. At this stage, the creature hangs itself with the help of the silk pad, but without any silk girdle support.
Color and Appearance: The forewings are bright tawny orange to yellowish orange or tan-orange in color studded with a considerable number of black to dark brown spots and lines. The upper wings have a pair of blackish brown lines, several disc-like spots, and varied patterns. The hind wings are smaller with equally decorative markings.
Average wingspan: 50 to 60 mm.
Flight pattern: Fast with an active and sharp flying style.
Pale yellowish in color, with a globular shape, and blunt at the top, while they are laid one by one by the female.
|Distribution||Found abundantly from the hilltops in Sri Lanka, throughout India, up to 3000 meters in the Himalayan mountain range, as well as in Bangladesh and Myanmar; also found in the entire region of Subsaharan Africa, and are endemic to the Philippines|
|Habitat||Primarily urban gardens, but also grass fields that have an abundant growth of flowers especially the tridax, Lantana camara, marigold, etc.|
|Host plants||Mostly rukam asam and weeping willow, but also, dovyalis, populous, flacouria, salix, trimera, etc.|
|Adult diet||Flower nectar, fermenting fruits|
Did You Know?
- The males of the species are territorial in nature, especially during mating season.
- A few favorite flowers of these butterflies to feed on nectar are tridax, thistles, meyenia laxiflora, gymnosporia montana, lantana, duranta, and marigold.