Family - LYCAENIDAE
Tribe - POLYOMMATINI
the tribe Polyommatini are characterised by being small in size, and
marked on the underside with a pattern of small spots or striations.
The uppersides of males are in most species covered in metallic blue
scales, while females are predominantly dull earthy brown in
The tribe has
worldwide distribution and contains such familiar species as the
Long-tailed Blue Lampides boeticus,
Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus, African
Tiger Blues Tarucus spp., and Oriental
genera including Castalius,
Nacaduba and Jamides.
The genus Jamides
contains about 30 species, all of which carry a distinctive
underside pattern comprised of white or buff striations on a
greyish-brown ground colour. All the species also bear an
orange-edged black spot at the tornus, and a single thin tail. Males
have bluish uppersides, which vary from pale silvery blue in
celeno to vivid ultramarine, purple or
turquoise in various other species. Females are similar to the
males, but the apex and outer margins of their forewings are dark
brown or black in most species.
Jamides celeno is
the commonest and most widespread member of the genus, occurring in
Sri Lanka, India, Assam, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo,
Java, Taiwan, the Philippines, Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea.
Jamides celeno, ( dry season form ) Orissa, India
© Haraprasan Nayak
breeds in disturbed evergreen and deciduous forest habitats at
altitudes between sea level and about 1600m.
The fully grown larvae are a
dingy reddish-olive colour, and covered with minute white tubercles.
They feed on the foliage of various plants including
Pueraria and Saraca (
Leguminosae ), and are attended by ants of several species, which
milk them to obtain a sugary secretion.
Jamides celeno, ( wet season form ) ©
Both sexes are commonly seen flying
around flowering bushes in forest-edge habitats including gardens,
roadsides, railway cuttings and archaeological sites. They often rest
on foliage at heights between about 1 - 3 metres, choosing bushes in
Males are frequently seen imbibing
mineralised moisture from damp soil and leaf-litter on the forest
floor. When feeding the head is always dipped. The pattern of white
striations diverts the eyes of avian predators away from the real
head, and towards the orange-rimmed back ocellus and "false-antennae"
tails. Attacking birds aim their beaks towards the area in which they
predict a butterfly will try to make it's escape, i.e. in front of the
head. The markings on the wings fool them into aiming just behind the
butterfly instead, and the insect makes it's escape in the opposite