Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - LIMENITIDINI
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
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.
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,
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.
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.
Nepal © Gail Hampshire