Butterflies of the
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - VAGRANTINI
The gorgeously coloured Cruiser is one of the
most familiar species in the Oriental region, but it is only the
male which has the dazzling orange wings - like all members of the
genus Vindula this species is sexually
The females are
similar to the bright orange males in pattern, but have a grey
ground colour, and a broad white post-median band extending across
The genus comprises of 4 species,
dejone and sapor.
The latter is endemic to the Solomon Islands and Bougainville. The
others have a much wider distribution - erota
and dejone being found across much of
the Oriental region, and arsinoe on
Papua New Guinea and in north-eastern Australia.
butterfly is found in primary rainforest at elevations between sea
level and about 500m. It can sometimes be found in light gaps deep
within the forest, but is very much a sun-loving species and
generally keeps to forest edge habitats e.g. riverbanks, roads and
The eggs are barrel-shaped and ribbed, and vary
in colour from straw-coloured to a dirty mottled brown. They are
laid at various angles in a row, along a thin tendril of a
The caterpillar when fully grown is blackish,
with grey patches along the sides, and a pale greenish broken line
along the back. The head has a pair of long tentacle-like horns, and
each segment is armed with dorsal and lateral spines.
The chrysalis is
one of the most amazing examples of camouflage in the butterfly
world, looking exactly like a piece of dead, dry, twisted,
half-decomposed leaf, and
according to one's
beliefs, is either one of evolutions finest adaptations or one of
God's most amazing creations.
It is a dirty pale
brown colour, marked on the dorsal surface with numerous fine dark
lines patterned like the minor veins and capillaries on a dead leaf.
A dark lateral line extends from the tail, looping around the wing
cases, which are dark greyish brown, with the veins picked out in
blackish. The dorsal surface carries a pair of large flat
protuberances shaped like bits of broken twisted leaf. A remarkable
object to say the very least.
Males are usually
seen in one's and two's imbibing moisture on sandbanks in full
They also feed at carrion and rotting fruit. At these times they
usually keep their wings outspread, but in particularly hot
conditions they will hold them erect. They are not usually nervous,
and can be approached quite closely, but if deliberately disturbed
they fly off rapidly and do not generally return to resume feeding.
Females are seen
much less commonly, but can sometimes be found nectaring on
flowering bushes including Lantana,