Butterflies of the
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - THECLINAE
Chilapata, West Bengal, India ©
The genus Sinthusa comprises of about
20 species variously distributed from n.e. India to Thailand, China,
Vietnam, Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra, Sulawesi and the Philippines.
The butterflies are popularly known as Sparks, due to the dazzling
metallic blue iridescence on their upperside hindwings. The
undersides vary considerably according to species -
nasaka for example is quite plain and
strongly reminiscent of Zeltus, while
verena are strongly marked with irregularly arranged maculae.
Sinthusa chandrana is the commonest and
most widely distributed species, being found from n.e. India to
China and Vietnam.
This species inhabits rainforest and humid deciduous forest at
elevation between about 200-1000m.
The larval foodplants include Psidium (
Myrtaceae ) and Dioscorea (
Males are invariably encountered singly, perching on foliage in
dappled sunlight. Both sexes rest with the wings held erect, and
constantly wiggle the antennae-like tails on the hindwings with a
scissor-like motion. This action diverts the attention of predators
away from the head of the butterfly, and fools birds into aiming
their attack at the hindwings rather than the body.