Wingspan of Adult Butterfly : 29~33mm
Caterpillar Host Plant : Dendropthoe pentandra (Loranthaceae)
Egg 4 days
1st Instar 3~4 days
2nd instar 4 days
3rd instar 4 days
4th instar 7 days
Pre-pupation 2 days
Pupa 10 days
Physical Description of Adult Butterfly :
The upper side of the male is a beautiful royal blue with a broad black apical border on the forewing. The female is a light pale blue with a series of black post-discal striae. The underside is a silvery grey with post discal series of dark striae on both wings. The tornal spots are orange-crowned and both sexes possess two pairs of tails.
The butterfly is a fast-flyer in the field, often found feeding at flowering bushes and trees. When disturbed it flies rapidly high up to nearby shrubs but often returns later to the bushes to continue feeding.
The egg is typically dome shape and measures ~0.93mm diameter. It has a depressed micropylar on top and the surface is slightly sculptured otherwise smooth.
Freshly laid Peacock Royal egg, diameter is about 0.9~1.0mm
The 1st instar caterpillar has 10 body segments and the spiracles are located closer to the top side of the segments. At the top of each of the body segments are the saw-tooth liked tubercles with setae which has white colour tip.
A newly hatched 1st instar caterpillar measures around1.2~1.5mm and about 2mm after half a day.
“Windows’ created by the 1st instar caterpillar
The 1st instar caterpillar feeds on the under surface of young leaf tissue.
Freshly molted 2nd Instar caterpillar feeding on its 1st skin with length of ~3.4mm
Freshly molted 3rd instar caterpillar remains the same colour as 2nd instar caterpillar except that the transparent pockets on the tubercles are gone now
Green coloured 3rd instar caterpillars. The colour of the caterpillars blends in well with the environment e.g. the green twig.
4th instar caterpillar, early in this stage, length: 13mm
Mature 4th instar caterpillar.
A 4th instar instar caterpillar continues to feed on the edge of the leaf
Pre-pupating caterpillar of the Peacock royal, note the pinkish colour patches which turns lighter to eventually white
Two days later the caterpillar shreds its skin and prepares for pupation by attaching itself with the cremaster on the twig without silkpad, but unlike many other species, it has no girdle to support the pupa.
A freshly molted pupa
Mature pupa of the Peacock royal
In the morning, few hours before the adult butterfly emerges the pupa turns darker brown
- The Butterflies of The Malay Peninsula, A.S. Corbet and H.M. Pendlebury, 4th Edition, Malayan Nature Society.
Text by Tan Ben Jin ; Photos by Tan BJ & Khew SK