17 March 2013

Life History of the Common Snow Flat

Life History of the Common Snow Flat (Tagiades japetus atticus)

Butterfly Biodata:
Genus: Tagiades
Hübner, 1819
Species: japetus Butler, 1879
Sub-Species: atticus Fabricius, 1793
Wingspan of Adult Butterfly: 38-45mm
Caterpillar Local Host Plants: Dioscorea pyrifolia (Dioscoreaceae), Dioscorea glabra (Dioscoreaceae), and other Dioscorea spp.

Physical Description of Adult Butterfly:
Above, the wings are dark brown. On the forewing, there is a white hyaline spot in each of spaces 3,6,7,8 in both sexes, and additional spots in the female in spaces 4 and 5. These spots are larger and more distinct in the female than in the male. Darker brown discal/post-discal patches are found in spaces 1b to 8 and in the cell in the forewing. Similar but smaller post-discal patches are also found in spaces 1b to 6 in the hindwing. Underneath, the wings are pale buff brown and are similarly marked as per above. The underside of the hindwing is suffused with white scaling.

Field Observations of Butterfly Behaviour:  
This species is the most commonly found species of its genus in Singapore. They are typically found in forested areas of the nature reserves and other hill parks and wastelands. As is the case for the other Tagiades species, the adults have the habit of perching on the underside of a leaf between flights, and with its wings opened flat. The adults have the habit of visiting flowers and puddling on bird droppings.