Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tawny Coster (Acraea terpsicore)

Tawny coster
Family      :   Nymphalidae
Subfamily :   Heliconiinae
Genus      :   Acraea
Species    :   A. terpsicore

Wingspan            : 53-64 mm
Local host Plants : Passiflora foetida

The Tawny Coster (Acraea terpsicore) is a member of family Nymphalidae. It is a small leathery winged butterfly which is rather common in Sri Lanka.
As a member of subfamily Heliconiinae, Tawny costers are having a perfectly flat hindwing and both hindwing and forewing have cells closed by tubular veins. 

Host Plant of Tawny coster: Passiflora foetida
Tawny coster butterfly host plant is a very common weed in Sri Lanka. That may be a reason for the butterfly being widespread in both open country and forests. 

The female Tawny coster oviposits a large number of eggs around 20 to 40 on the underside of leaf. Since the host plant is fast growing weed, caterpillars have better chance of survival. 

It is recorded that the Tawny costers release a liquid which is unpleasant to predators. It is used as the survival strategy since these butterflies are having a slow and weak flight. (Source: Acraea_terpsicore)

The males are having deep orange color on the upper side of wings while the females are having lighter orange/brownish color. There exist distinct arrangement of black spots on both fore wing and hind wing.

Images of male Tawny Coster

Upperside of male Tawny coster

Upperside of tawny coster is deep orange color (male) or pale brown/yellow (female). Underside colors are much lighter than upperside.

Underside wings of male Tawny coster
Tawny costers have black antennae and black spotted thorax with white and pale yellow.

Head region of Tawny coster

Upperside view of the head region

Visiting the Blue snakeweed (Stachytarpheta cayennensis) flowers 
Male Tawny coster

Image of a female Tawny Coster butterfly

Female Tawny coster is having pale brownish/ yellowish color.

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