Spalgis epius

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Spalgis epius 00002(28052015).jpg
From Kerala, India
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Lycaenidae
Genus: Spalgis
Species: S. epius
Binomial name
Spalgis epius
(Westwood, 1851)
  • Geridus epeus Westwood, [1851]
  • Lucia epius
  • Spalgis nubilus Moore, [1884]
  • Lucia fangola Kheil, 1884
  • Spalgis titius Fruhstorfer, 1919
  • Lucia substrigata Snellen, 1878
  • Spalgis strigatus Semper, 1889
  • Spalgis georgi Fruhstorfer, 1919
  • Spalgis semperi Fruhstorfer, 1919
  • Lucia dilama Moore, 1878
  • Spalgis pharnus Felder, 1860

Spalgis epius, the apefly, is a small butterfly found in Asia that belongs to the lycaenids or blues family.[1] It gets its name from the supposed resemblance of its caterpillar to the face of an ape.



Upperside: dull brown, slightly darker towards the apex of the forewing; also a more or less quadrate whitish spot beyond the apex of the cell on the same wing; in some specimens this spot is slightly diffuse. Underside: pale, silky, brownish white; forewings and hindwings crossed by numerous, very slender, short, sinuous, transverse, dark brown strigae which are outwardly slenderly edged with brownish white of a shade paler than that of the ground colour; both wings with an anticiliary dark brown line with on the inner side a similar edging. Forewing, in addition, with an oval white spot beyond the cell. Cilia of both forewings and hindwings of the same shade as the ground colour of the wings. Antenna, head, thorax and abdomen pale brown, club of antennae ochraceous at apex; beneath: the palpi and thorax brownish grey, abdomen pale brown.


Upperside: slightly paler brown. Forewing: the cell and apex darker; a white spot similar to that in the male but larger, beyond the apex of the cell; in most specimens extended diffusely outwards and downwards. Hindwing: similar to that of the male. Underside: precisely as in the male.[2]

Life cycle[edit]

The caterpillars of this butterfly, like other members of the subfamily Miletinae, are entomophagous and are predators of scale insects.[3] The species unlike many other lycaenid butterflies is not myrmecophilous.[4]


  • S. e. epius (India, Sri Lanka to Peninsular Malaya, Nicobars, Mergui and southern Yunnan)
  • S. e. dilama (Moore, 1878) (Taiwan)
  • S. e. fangola (Kheil, 1884) (Sumatra, Nias, possibly Borneo)
  • S. e. nubilus Moore, [1884] (Andamans, Pulau Tioman)
  • S. e. pharnus Felder, 1860 (Kai, Buru, Ambon, Halmahera, West Irian)
  • S. e. semperi Fruhstorfer, 1919 (northern Philippines, Luzon)
  • S. e. strigatus Semper, 1889 (southern to central Philippines)
  • S. e. substrigata (Snellen, 1878) (Sulawesi)
  • S. e. titius Fruhstorfer, 1919 (Java, Bali, Sumba, Sumbawa, possibly Damar and Lombok)

Cited references[edit]

  1. ^ Page on Markku Savela's site for genus Spalgis (Lycaenidae).
  2. ^ Bingham, C.T. (1907). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. II (1st ed.). London: Taylor and Francis, Ltd. 
  3. ^ Venkatesha, M. G., L. Shashikumar, S.S.Gayathri Devi (2004) Protective devices of the carnivorous butterfly, Spalgis epius (Westwood) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) Current Science 87(5): 571-572 PDF
  4. ^ Venkatesha, M. G. (2005) Why is homopterophagous butterfly, Spalgis epius (Westwood) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) amyrmecophilous? Current Science 89(2):245-246 PDF

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

  • Asahi Correctly determined photos of Spalgis epius