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Butterflies of the Indian subcontinent
Knight
Lebadea martha  FABRICIUS, 1787
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - LIMENITIDINAE
Tribe - LIMENITIDINI
Lebadea martha, Chilapata, West Bengal, India   Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
There are 3 Lebadea species i.e. ismene, martha and alankara.
Lebadea martha is the commonest and most widespread species in the genus, being found in India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Sarawak, Brunei and Sabah.
Habitats
This species is found in forested areas at elevations between sea level and about 600 metres.
Lifecycle
The egg is yellowish green. It is spherical in shape, and covered with a honeycomb of hexagonal pits. A single short spike arises at each intersection of the ridges surrounding the pits, giving the egg a sea-urchin like appearance. The egg is laid singly on the upperside of a leaf of the foodplant Ixora ( Rubiaceae ), at the very tip of the leaf.
When small the caterpillar eats away the leaf either side of the midvein, and rests on the projecting midrib. Older larvae nibble thin strips either side of the midrib, leaving a very characteristic feeding pattern. Throughout its life the caterpillar is marbled in shades of greyish-green and brown. It is covered with multi-branched spikes along the back and sides.
The young larva attaches its droppings and tiny fragments of dead leaf to the spikes. On mature larvae the dorsal spikes on the 3rd thoracic segment are exceptionally long, and there are a pair of bright green wedge-shaped markings below the spiracles on the 2nd-4th abdominal segments.
The glossy chrysalis is dark olive-brown, marbled with white on the head, and is suspended by the cremaster from a twig or stem close to the foodplant.
Adult behaviour
Both sexes can be found flying around forest glades, and along roadsides in forested areas. They commonly bask on foliage at heights between 1-4 metres above ground level. Males sometimes mud-puddle at damp patches, and are attracted to wood ash in areas of forest where the under-storey is burned to encourage grasses for cattle.

Lebadea martha, Buxa, West Bengal, India   Adrian Hoskins

 

 

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