Phalanta phalantha

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Common leopard
Common Leopard Phalanta phalantha.jpg
P. p. phalantha
Bangalore, India
Common leopard fritillary (Phalanta phalantha aethiopica).jpg
P. p. aethiopica
Queen Elizabeth Park, Uganda
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Clade: Euarthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae
Genus: Phalanta
Species: P. phalantha
Binomial name
Phalanta phalantha
(Drury, [1773])[1]
Synonyms
  • Papilio phalantha Drury, [1773]
  • Papilio columbina Cramer, [1779]
  • Atella phalanta
  • Atella araca Waterhouse & Lyell, 1914

Phalanta phalantha, the common leopard or spotted rustic, is a sun-loving butterfly of the nymphalid or brush-footed butterfly family.

Field characteristics[edit]

The common leopard is a medium-sized butterfly with a wingspan of 50–55 mm with a tawny colour and marked with black spots. The underside of the butterfly is more glossy than the upper and both the male and female are similar looking. A more prominent purple gloss on the underside is found in the dry-season form of this butterfly.[2]

Distribution and subspecies[edit]

The butterfly is found in Subsaharan Africa and southern Asia (including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Burma) in a number of subspecies.

  • P. p. phalantha
  • P. p. luzonica Fruhstofer (Philippines)
  • P. p. columbina (Cramer) (southern China, Hainan and possibly Taiwan)
  • P. p. araca (Waterhouse & Lyell, 1914) (Australia)
  • P. p. aethiopica (Rothschild & Jordan, 1903) (Madagascar, Seychelles, Aldabra, Comoro, Tropical Africa)
  • P. p. granti (Rothschild & Jordan, 1903) (Socotra Island)

Status[edit]

It is widely distributed and abundant; from the tops of hills in Sri Lanka and southern India and up to 3000 m in the Himalayas, as well as the whole of Subsaharan Africa.

Common leopard visiting a plant

Habits[edit]

Sun loving and avoids shade. Seen in the plains, gardens, and edges of clearings. Has active and sharp flight movements. Visits flowers regularly especially Lantana, Duranta, Meyenia laxiflora, Gymnosporia montana, and thistles. Often seen mudpuddling from damp patches in the ground, either alone or in groups. A regular basker with wings spread wide open. It is commonest in dry areas and dry weather and absent from the wetter parts of India during the monsoon. It often perches on edges of clearing with wings half open and has the habit of chasing away other butterflies and guarding its territory.[2]

Larval host plants[edit]

Food plants are species of family Bixaceae. It has been recorded breeding on Flacourtia indica, Flacourtia montana, Smilax, Xylosma longifolium,[3] and Salix.

Larval host plants recorded from families Acanthaceae, Compositae, Flacourtiaceae, Primulaceae, Salicaceae, Rubiaceae, Violaceae and specific plants are Barleria prionitis, Canthium parviflorum, Coffea arabica, Dovyalis caffra, Dovyalis gardnerii, Dovyalis hebecarpa, Dovyalis macrocalyx, Dovyalis rotundifolia, Flacourtia indica, Flacourtia inermis, Flacourtia jangomas, Flacourtia montana, Flacourtia ramontchii, Mangifera indica, Maytenus buchanii, Melaleuca leucadendra, Petalostigma quadriloculare, Populus alba, Populus × canescens, Populus deltoides, Salix babylonica, Salix tetrasperma, Salix warburgii, Scolopia chinensis, Scolopia oldhami, Scolopia scolopia, Smilax tetragona, Tridax procumbens, Trimeria grandifolia, Xylosma racemosa.[4]

Life cycle gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Phalanta phalantha, Site of Markku Savela
  2. ^ a b Kunte, Krushnamegh (2000). Butterflies of Peninsular India. India, A Lifescape. Hyderabad, India: Universities Press. pp. 122–124. ISBN 978-8173713545. 
  3. ^ Kunte, K. (2006). Additions to the known larval host plants of Indian butterflies. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 103(1):119–121.
  4. ^ HOSTS - a Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants (http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/projects/hostplants/) accessed on July 2, 2007.