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Butterflies of the Indian subcontinent
Glassy Tiger
Parantica aglea  STOLL, 1782
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - DANAINAE
Tribe - DANAINI

Parantica aglea, Chilapata, West Bengal, India   Adrian Hoskins

Introduction
The subfamily Danainae, which includes the Monarchs & Tigers, Nymphs and Crows, comprises of about 190 species worldwide.
There are 42 Parantica species, distributed variously from India to the Philippines, and via Malaysia and Indonesia to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Parantica aglea is the commonest and most widespread member of the genus, occuring in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and West Malaysia.

Parantica aglea, Chilapata, West Bengal, India   Adrian Hoskins

Habitats
This species occurs in many habitats including rainforest, humid deciduous forest, Acacia scrub, beach hinterlands, gardens and parks at altitudes between sea level and about 700m.
Lifecycle
The larval foodplants are Calotropis and Tylophora ( Apocynaceae ).
Parantica aglea, Chilapata, West Bengal, India   Adrian Hoskins
Adult behaviour

The butterflies are usually encountered singly or in two's and three's. They have a slow undulating flight, with fairly shallow wing beats, and patrol flowery areas. They occasionally nectar at flowers but they obtain most of their sustenance in the form of pyrrholizidine alkaloids which they sequester from fluids oozing from plant stems and seedpods. These confer them with toxic qualities that deter bird attacks. Consequently many non-toxic butterflies - 'Batesian mimics' - have gained protection by evolving similar patterns.

 

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