Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - DANAINAE
Tribe - DANAINI
Euploea core, Chilapata, West Bengal, India
© Adrian Hoskins
The subfamily Danainae, which includes the Monarchs & Tigers, Nymphs
and Crows, comprises of about 190 species worldwide.
genus Euploea is very distinctive. All
of the 59 known species are dark brown in colour, and most have a
double band of white spots on the underside of the wings, and tiny
white spots on the sides of the thorax. On the upperside, males of
most species have a deep blue or purple sheen, but in
Euploea core the upperside is similar
to the underside and lacks any sheen.
Euploea core is distributed from India
and Sri Lanka to south China, and via the Malay peninsula to
Sumatra, Borneo, Sulawesi, Java, Bali, New Guinea and Australia.
species can be found in a wide variety of lowland habitats including
tropical rainforest, dry woodland, Acacia
scrub, beach hinterlands, parks and gardens.
The eggs are
laid singly on the buds of the larval foodplants. A wide variety of
plants are eaten by the caterpillars including
Leichartia and Gunnessia.
are often seen imbibing moisture from patches of damp ground. They
also visit decomposing fruit on the forest floor, and in Sri Lanka I
have seen clusters of males feeding on juices exuded by dead snakes.
They also visit Senna and other
leguminous plants to imbibe pyrrolizidine alkaloids oozing from the
stems and seed pods. These alkaloids are processed by the butterflies
to produce toxins which confer them with protection against
insectivorous birds. Females are more commonly seen when nectaring,
and have a strong preference for the flowers of
dusk the butterflies gather together in communal roosts - typically of
a dozen or so will cluster together, hanging from twigs in semi-shaded
situations. In the dry season, aestivating roosts of a hundred or more
butterflies can sometimes be found along dry river courses in forested
Euploea core, Ultapani, Assam, India
© Adrian Hoskins