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Butterflies of the Indian subcontinent
Yellow Coster
Acraea issoria   HUBNER, 1819
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - HELICONIINAE
Tribe - ACRAEINI
Acraea issoria Simpock Khola, West Sikkim, India  Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
The Heliconiinae comprises of 3 tribes - Acraeini, Argynnini and Heliconiini. The Acraeini includes the Neotropical genera Abananote, Altinote and Actinote; and the Oriental / Australian Cethosia, as well as Acraea which includes 230 African species, one Australian species, and 5 in the Oriental region.
All Acraea species have elongate forewings and rounded hindwings. The wings are thinly scaled to the extent that in many species they are semi-transparent. The scales tend to get rubbed off very easily so that insects more than 4 or 5 days old have a distinctly glassy or greasy appearance. The majority of species are predominantly brownish or greyish in ground colour, marked with bands or patches of red or orange, and have a pattern of small black spots on the underside hindwings.
Acraea issoria is found in India, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Sumatra and Java.

Acraea issoria Simpock Khola, West Sikkim, India  Adrian Hoskins

Habitats
This species inhabits hot mountain valleys at elevations between about 500-1400m.
Lifecycle
The larvae feed gregariously on Boehmeria, Debregasia, Elatostema, Cebregeasia and Pouzolzia

( Urticaceae ); and on Buddleia ( Buddleiaceae ).

Acraea issoria pupae, Simpock Khola, West Sikkim, India  Adrian Hoskins

Adult behaviour

This is a colony-forming species. Even in marginal habitats it is uncommon to see less than half a dozen flying together, while prime habitats can contain hundreds. Both sexes nectar at a wide range of wild flowers. They usually hold their wings erect while feeding, but often pause to bask on flowers or vegetation with their wings outspread, with the forewings half masking the hindwings. The flight is weak and fluttery, but persistent. In cloudy weather they roost openly on stems or grass-heads.

Acraea issoria Simpock Khola, West Sikkim, India  Adrian Hoskins

 

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