17 August 2013

Life History of the Tree Flitter

Life History of the Tree Flitter (Hyarotis adrastus praba)

Butterfly Biodata:
Genus: Hyarotis Moore, 1881
Species: adrastus Stoll, 1780
Sub-species: praba Moore, 1865
Wingspan of Adult Butterfly: 34-38mm
Caterpillar Local Host Plant: Daemonorops augustifolia (Arecaceae; common name: Water Rattan Palm).

Physical Description of Adult Butterfly:
Above, the wings are dark brown with the forewing adorned with white hyaline spots in the cell-end and spaces 2, 3, subapical spots in spaces 6,7 and 8, and another in space 1b. Underneath, the wings are dark brown with an irregular white discal fascia on the hindwing. The cilia are chequered on both wings. The antenna has a white patch below the apicus.

A sun-bathing Tree Flitter.

A newly eclosed Tree Flitter with partially open wings.

A Tree Flitter taking nectar from Syzygium flowers.

Field Observations of Butterfly Behaviour:
The Tree Flitter is moderately rare in Singapore. Infrequent sightings are restricted to the edges of the nature reserve and at times in urban parks and gardens. The adults are fast flyers and zipped around rapidly at close to ground level most of the time. They have been observed to visit flowers and sunbath in sunny weather, and to puddle on bird dropping.