27 September 2013

Butterflies Galore! : Plain Palm Dart

Butterflies Galore!
The Plain Palm Dart (Cephrenes acalle niasicus)

The Plain Palm Dart is one of two extant species of the genus Cephrenes in Singapore. Males of this species are often confused with the commoner Telicota species which are lookalikes and not easy to identify when in the field. However, the Plain Palm Dart is slightly more unique than the other species in that the females are purple-brown and can be distinguished immediately. The species can be found in urban parks and gardens, and is also quite regularly observed on Pulau Ubin, especially when there are flowering Syzygium trees.

This female Plain Palm Dart was photographed by ButterflyCircle member Loke PF. The butterfly is feeding on the flower of a common "weed", Bidens sp. Females are rarer than males.  The caterpillar of the Plain Palm Dart feeds on the common coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) and one of the "fan" palms (Livistonia sp).  The life history has been recorded here.