Saturday, January 12, 2013

Mottled Emigrant (Catopsilia pyranthe)

Family : Pieridae
Genus : Catopsilia
Species : C. pyranthe
Wingspan : 65 mm

Host PlantsUru tora (Senna sophera (L.) Roxb.), Ranawara [S] (Cassia auriculata)
Location : Divulapitiya, Sri Lanka
Camera : Nikon D3100, 18-55mm

Mottled Emigrant butterfly

Mottled Emigrant (Catopsilia pyranthe) is a very common butterfly which is highly active from around 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The wings are greenish white and light blue color. The forewing has a black apical border and a  black cell-end spot. The female butterfly lay around 10-15 eggs on the immature leaves of its host plants; Uru tora (Senna sophera (L.) Roxb.), Ranawara [S] (Cassia auriculata). The female butterflies are having broader markings on its forewing; black border and the cell spot than the male butterfly.

Mottled Emigrant host plant: Senna sophera (L.) Roxb.
Ranawara [S] (Cassia auriculata)
Mottled Emigrant perching on a grass blade

Early Stages of Mottled Emigrant

The egg is hatching after about 2-3 days and the caterpillar emerged shows a white color for about 1 hour and turns to greenish color with a transparent body. The initial length of the first instar caterpillar is about 3mm which gradually grows up to 5mm within 1-2 days. 
The second instar lasts about 2-3 days reaching the body length up to 9-10 mm. It shows the black spots all over its body region.

At the end of the 3rd instar caterpillar, the body length reaches to about 12-14 mm and a faint white line is visible. The third instar lasts about 3-4 days. 
The fourth instar caterpillar is having the white line clearly visible together with black tubercles parallel to it. The body length increases up to about 25 mm at the end of the fourth instar caterpillar. 
The fifth instar caterpillar shows the appearance similar to the fourth instar.

The fifth instar caterpillar reaches upto 45 mm length and then it gradually shorten. At the later stage of the fifth instar, the caterpillar cease eating and starts to find a better place to pupate. At the pre-pupatory stage, the caterpillar spins a silk pad under a mature leaf and another silk strand to secure itself throughout the forthcoming stages. The caterpillar waits until next day morning to pupate.
The pupa take about 6-7 days to develop. On the evening prior to the emerging of butterfly, the pupal case begins to translucent and the markings on the forewing becomes visible gradually.

Left : Freshly formed pupal case, Right : The translucent pupal case showing the markings of the forewing of the male butterfly

The pupal case gradually stretches as its near to emerge the butterfly

The wings are fully unfolded after about 10-15 minutes.

The freshly emerged butterfly dries its wings for about 1 hour prior to fly.

Shows the large number of short transverse striae in brownish color which gives the Mottled appearance.

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