Neptis hylas

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Common sailor
Neptis hylas-Kadavoor-2016-07-26-001.jpg
Neptis hylas by kadavoor.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae
Genus: Neptis
Species: N. hylas
Binomial name
Neptis hylas
(Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Neptis varmona, Moore, 1872
  • Neptis eurynome (Westwood, 1842)

Neptis hylas, the common sailor, is a species of nymphalid butterfly found in the Indian subcontinent and South-East Asia. It has a characteristic stiff gliding flight achieved by short and shallow wingbeats just above the horizontal. For the other butterfly called the common sailor, see Neptis laeta.


Dry-season form - Upperside black, with pure white markings. Forewing discoidal streak clavate (club shaped), apically truncate, subapically either notched or sometimes indistinctly divided; triangular spot beyond broad, well defined, acute at apex, but not elongate; discal series of spots separate, not connate (united), each about twice as long as broad; postdiscal transverse series of small spots incomplete, but some are always present. Hindwing: subbasal band of even or nearly oven width; discal and subterminal pale lines obscure; postdiscal series of spots well separated, quadrate or subquadrate, very seldom narrow. Underside from pale golden ochraceous to dark ochraceous almost chocolate; white markings as on the upperside, but broader and defined in black. Forewing: interspaces 1a and 1 from base to near the apex shaded with black, some narrow transverse white markings on either side of the transverse postdiscal series of small spots. Hindwing a streak of white on costal margin at base, a more slender white streak below it; the discal and subterminal pale lines of the upperside replaced by narrow white lines with still narrower margins of black. Antennae, head, thorax and abdomen black; the palpi, thorax and abdomen beneath dusky white.

Wet-season form - Differs only in the narrowness of the white markings and in the slightly darker ground colour and broader black margins to the spots and bands on the underside.[1]

This species has been observed to make sounds whose function has not been established.[2]


Throughout continental India; Sri Lanka; Assam; Myanmar (Tenasserim), extending to China and Indomalaya.

Life history[edit]


Race var mona = eurynome. Frederic Moore describes this from a drawing by Samuel Neville Ward as follows:

"Head larger than the anterior segment, vertex with two short pointed spines, cheeks obtusely spined; third, fourth, sixth and twelfth segments armed with a subdorsal pair of stout fleshy spiny processes, those on the fourth segment longest. Colour pale green; face, the tip of processes and segments slightly washed with pale pinkish, a slight pinkish oblique lateral fascia from an anal process; a small, dark, lateral spot on the sixth segment."[3]


"Rather short; head-piece bluntly cleft in front, vertex pointed; thorax dorsally prominent and angular; dorsum angular at base; abdominal segments slightly angled dorsally; wing-cases somewhat dilated laterally. Colour pale brownish-ochreous, with lateral thoracic golden spots."[1]


  1. ^ a b Bingham, C.T. (1905). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma Butterflies. 1 (1st ed.). London: Taylor and Francis, Ltd. 
  2. ^ Scott, F.W. (1968). Sound produced by Neptis hylas (Nymphalidae). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 22(4):254 PDF
  3. ^ Bingham, C.T. (1907). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. II (1st ed.). London: Taylor and Francis, Ltd. 

External links[edit]