Butterflies of the Indian subcontinent
Moduza procris  CRAMER, 1777
Moduza procris, male  Adrian Hoskins
There are 9 species in the genus Moduza, all found in the Oriental region. They are closely related to the genera Limenitis and Athyma.
Moduza procris is the commonest and most widespread member of the genus, being found in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, the Philippines, West Malaysia, Sumatra, Sarawak, Brunei, Sabah, Kalimantan and Java.
This species is found in heavily forested areas which receive high levels of rainfall, at elevations between sea level and about 400 metres.
The eggs are dome-shaped, and covered in a coarse network of hexagonal ridges from which arise numerous short spines. They are greenish in colour and could be compared in appearance with an unripe strawberry or a green sea urchin. They are laid on the undersurface of a leaf of the food-plant, near the tip.
The fully grown caterpillar, which is illustrated below feeds on various members of the Rubiaceae including Uncaria, Mussaenda, Wendlandia, Nauclea, Sarcolephalus, Stephegyne and Timonias. It rests near the tip of a leaf, on the midrib, behind a barrier it has constructed from a chain of its droppings. Studies have demonstrated that these barriers are an effective deterrent to ants and other predatory insects, which appear to be dissuaded from crossing by toxins in the droppings.
Moduza procris, larva Gan Cheong Weei
The chrysalis is suspended by the cremaster from a twig or among dried leaves, and looks almost exactly like a small twisted dead leaf. It is coloured in various shades of brown, is broad across the thoracic area, and the abdomen is curved into an S shape. The light brown wing cases are marked with dark lines resembling the veins of a leaf. The abdomen is curved into an S shape, the back is covered in large bumps, and the palpi look like mop-heads. A most peculiar and fascinating object.
Adult behaviour
Commanders have a swift and skittish flight with rapid wing beats alternating with spurts of smooth gliding. They are powerful on the wing, but usually only fly for short distances at a time.
Both sexes will visit herbaceous flowers, bushes and flowering trees for nectar.
Males often bask on river beaches, stream beds, road surfaces and boulders. They are strongly attracted to urine soaked ground, where they will sometimes spend an entire day, with bouts of feeding broken by periods of resting or basking.
Moduza procris, male  Adrian Hoskins
Moduza procris, Nepal Gail Hampshire


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