Butterflies of the
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
West Bengal, India
© Adrian Hoskins
is unclear how many species should be classified within the genus
Arhopala. Some consider that the genus
should only include a few Papuan species and place all other related
species in Panchala,
Aurea. Here I follow the classification adopted by Corbet &
Pendlebury, who include all these genera within
Arhopala. Thus defined the genus is
widespread, with the species distributed variously from Afghanistan
to Japan, and south across the Pacific to Australia. In total there
are about 220 species, collectively known as Oakblues.
Most species have
metallic blue or purplish uppersides. A few species however such as
and trogon have metallic green wings.
The undersides of all species are cryptically patterned with dark
spots and blotches on a greyish or brown ground colour. All species
have short tails on the hindwings, and in many there is a patch of
metallic green or blue scales adjacent to the tail.
Arhopala centaurus is found in India,
Sri Lanks, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, China, Taiwan, Vietnam,
Thailand, West Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, the Philippines, Sulawesi,
Java and Bali.
This is a common species found in
rainforest and humid deciduous forest at elevations between sea
level and about 800m.
The caterpillars are known to feed on
Terminalia ( Combretaceae ),
Lagerstroemia ( Lythraceae ) and Xylia
( Mimosaceae ). They have also been recorded on
Quercus ( Fagaceae ) but records on
this plant may erroneously refer to another
Arhopala species - pseudocentaurus.
The butterflies are usually seen singly. They spend long periods
perching on leaves, periodically taking short, very rapid and
acrobatic flights before settling again nearby. They also sometimes
settle on leaf litter on the forest floor.