Paper Kite (Idea leuconoe)
The Paper Kite is a member of the nymph butterfly group and is a favorite to the butterfly lovers from around the world because of their bright looks. The creatures have two ruling colors on their wings – black and white, which probably made them more elegant and gorgeous. The Paper Kites are found in 23 different subspecies.
- Family: Nymphalidae
- Genus: Idea
- Common names: White tree nymph, large tree nymph, rice paper butterfly
- Scientific Name: Idea leuconoe
Description and Identification
The caterpillar has many similarities or visual congruency with the adult butterflies. A mature larva is about 0.5 inches in size, with a white body dotted with black spots and long spines. The head is orangish having two black horn-like structures, while the anal plate is yellow. They are usually solitary, but at times might form small groups of 2 to 3 individuals.
The chrysalis is of the paper kite is bright gold in color, and about ten black spines protruding from the ventral side. The thorax or mid portion is distinctly curved, with the antennae having multiple short black spines.
Sexual Dimorphism: Both sexes look the same.
Color and Appearance: The wings look the same when they are open or closed. The forewings and the hind wings of the paper kite butterflies show a translucent silvery white base having distinct black markings all over. These patterns are elaborate dark dots and swooping black lines, quite similar to the Idea lynceus butterfly, while the bottom of the wings often has a yellowish to cream or off-white hue.
Average wingspan: 3.75 to 4.5 inches
Flight pattern: Slow
Light yellow in color that is laid one at a time.
|Distribution||In Asia, from Thailand to Malaysia, the Philippines and Southern Taiwan; also found in Northern Australia|
|Habitat||Dwells mostly in the mangrove swamps of primarily coastal areas|
|Lifespan of adults||Believed to be about 6 to 9 months|
|Host plants||Parsonsia species, viz. Tylophora hispida, Parsonsia helicandra, Parsonsia spiralis, and Cynanchum formosanum|
|Adult diet||Flower nectar|
Did You Know?
- Paper kite butterfly is the largest member of the milkweed butterfly family.
- Since the larvae survive on venomous host plants on Parsonsia species, both the butterfly and the larva are poisonous.