Cupha erymanthis

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Cupha erymanthis at Kadavoor.jpg
Typical individual, Kerala
Conservation status
Not evaluated (IUCN 2.3)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae
Tribe: Vagrantini
Genus: Cupha
Species: C. erymanthis
Binomial name
Cupha erymanthis

Cupha placida

The rustic (Cupha erymanthis) is a species of brush-footed butterfly found in forested areas of tropical South Asia and Southeast Asia.


Upperside ochraceous light brown. Fore wing: some loop-like, slender, dark cellular markings; a broad, somewhat curved, transverse yellow discal band from costa to vein 1, not reaching the termen, broadening posteriorly, the margins irregularly sinuous, the inner defined broadly with black, and produced outwards in interspaces 3 and 4, below this the margin is squarely indented inwards in interspace 2 and outwardly convex in interspace 1 ; a curved series of three black spots, the lowest the largest, in interspaces 1, 2 and 3; apical area beyond the band black, with a conspicuous yellow subapical spot in interspace 5, and a paler ill-defined similar spot above it in interspace 6; posteriorly the black area is produced narrowly to the tornus and encircles a yellow spot near apex of interspace 2.

Hind wing: a transverse sinuous, very slender, black line, followed by a slender somewhat lunular line, a transverse discal series of five black spots in interspaces 2 to 6, a postdiscal medially disjointed series or broad black lunules, a subterminal series of similar but straighter lunules, and a narrow terminal black band. The outer subbasal transverse line broadens at the costa, and is outwardly margined by pale spots in the interspaces, these are anteriorly white, well defined, posteriorly obscure, often absent.

Puddling from carcasses lying in an exposed, sunny surface

Underside much paler; the discal band on the fore wing also much paler, the black on the apical area replaced by pale brownish ochraceous; some obscure marking in cells of both fore and hind wings.

Fore wing: a discal, transverse, slender, chestnut-brown lunular line, bent inwards above vein 5, and bordered outwardly by a series of dark spots; the large black spot in interspace 1 as on the upperside, and an inner and an outer transverse subterminal series of small dentate spots.

Hind wing: some indistinct cellular markings; the outer subbasal dark transverse line as on the upperside but more clearly defined, very sinuous; a transverse discal series of uneven lunules, paler than the groundcolour, followed by a series of dark spots, a postdiscal very obscure pale lunular band, and a subterminal series of dentate dark spots, often obscure or obsolescent. Antennae, head, thorax and abdomen ochraceous brown; beneath, the palpi, thorax and abdomen very pale ochraceous white.

The caterpillar is brown, with a dorsal and a lateral series of darker brown markings; head with two slender branched spines, succeeding segments with on each side a lateral series of semitransparent similar brown spines. The pupa is green, studded with eight slender pink filaments and four small pink tubercles.

Subspecies and variants[edit]

Var. nicobarica Felder: generally but not always, has the interspace between the postdiscal and subterminal transverse series of lunules on the upperside of the hind wing paler than the groundcolour of the wings.

Subspecies andamanica Moore: Upperside ground-colour very dark ochraceous brown, much darker than in erymanthis generally ; markings on both upper and under sides similar, but on the upper-side the spots on the discal band on the fore wing larger, especially the lowest spot; on the hind wing the upper three spots of the discal series conspicuously larger; on the underside the groundcolour is darker and the markings more clearly defined than in the typical form.

Subspecies placida of southern India (earlier considered as a full species): Upperside differs as follows:—Fore wing: discal band distinctly darker yellow, with its inner and outer margins much less sinuous and irregular, the black line defining the inner margin more slender; the spots on the band in interspaces 1,2 and 3 much smaller, especially the spot in interspace 1, which is no larger than the others and is diffuse and ill-defined; the subapical yellow spots on the black area entirely wanting or, if present, diffuse and indistinct. On the hind wing the outer subbasal line with its outer border of pale spots is generally more clearly defined than in erymanthis. Both fore and hind wings are shaded at the base with olivaceous brown. Underside : markings similar to those in erymanthis but more heavily defined.


Caterpillars feed mainly on Flacourtiaceae species, e.g. Flacourtia montana, F. ramontchii, F. rukam, Xylosma racemosa and Scolopia spp.. they also eat plants like Glochidion eriocarpum and Lepisanthes rubiginosum.[2]

Adult butterflies occasionally visit carrion to drink the liquids emanating therefrom. They seem to favor carcasses lying in exposed, sunny areas over those which are in the shade.[3]


  1. ^ Bingham (1905)
  2. ^ Robinson et al. (2007)
  3. ^ Hamer et al. (2006)