Thursday, June 12, 2014

Common sailor (Neptis hylas)

Genus: Neptis Fabricius, 1807
Species: hylas Linnaeus, 1758
Subspecies: papaja Moore, 1875
Wingspan : 50mm

Common Sailor butterfly
Common Sailor (Neptis hylas) is a member of family Nymphalidae. It is commonly found in South Asia and Southeast Asia. It is a sun-loving butterfly which can be often seen basking in morning sunlight. The Common Sailor butterflies are in fully opened wings when basking and perching. It is very common butterfly in Sri Lanka and prefers different habitats as wastelands, home gardens, urban areas and forest clearings etc. 

Common Sailor butterfly

Common Sailor butterfly is fond of feeding on nectar plants and ripened fruits. The male butterfly feeds on bird droppings to replenish the minerals after mating. It can be commonly seen patrolling around the host plants and flower bushes.

Common Sailor butterfly basking in morning sunlight

Common Sailor butterflies have weak flight with short and shallow wing beats.
Upperside of Common Sailor butterfly is having blackish brown base color with series of whitish spots. The thorax is having dusty appearance with in peacock blue color. Underside markings of Common Sailor butterfly resembles those on upperside but with lighter brown color.

Common Sailor butterfly; Upperside

Common Sailor is not a highly alerted butterfly which allows to go closer when basking and perching. Therefore, it is very easy to capture them in a photograph as well as to observe.

Common Sailor butterfly; Underside

The eggs of Common Sailor butterfly are laid singly on the leaf tips of host plant. The freshly laid eggs are in greenish blue color with globular shape. The whole egg surface is covered with hexagonal pattern and very small thin spines.

Common Sailor butterfly feeding on a bird dropping
The larva starts feeding from the leaf tips while the mid rib of leaf kept uneaten. By doing that, the leftover leaf become dried. Since the Common Sailor larva closely resembles dried leaf, this method helps to protect from predators. The Pupae of Common Sailor butterfly is usually hangs on underside of a leaf or stem of the host plant or plants nearby.

Portrait of Common Sailor

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