Saturday, September 29, 2012

Partial Life History of Arhopala major

Partial Life History of Arhopala major


Butterfly Description:
Wingspan: 34 - 36 mm.
The male is violet-blue on upperside wings.

The species is common and has been encountered regularly in the nature reserved. Typically they perch with it wings closed, under the heavy shade, near to their host plant.


Host plant Description:
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Macaranga gigantea

The host plant Macaranga gigantea can grows up to 15m tall with with spreading crown. The twigs is solid & thus does not house ants. The leaves are shallowly tri-lobed


Host plant: Macaranga gigantea. Showing the typical small plant.


Host plant: Macaranga gigantea. A very young plant with broad young leaves.


Host plant: Macaranga gigantea. Plant that badly infested by the caterpillar of A. major. Up to 10 final instar larvae found on the tree. 


Early Stages:
The caterpillar of Arhopala major feed on the young leaves of M. gigantea, attended by a species of ants (yet to be identified). During resting, the caterpillars have the habit of resting on the underside of leaf, near to the main ribs at the leaf base.


5ht instart caterpillar, side view.


5ht instart caterpillar being attended by ant which are interested in the dorsal nectary organ.

Pre-pupation stage, the body length gradually shortened and turn into yellow color. The caterpillar choose the spaces between leaves stack to pupate in home breeding environment. The caterpillar spinned a silk pad to which it attached itself via cremastral hooks, a silk girdle is built and attached at the abdomen of the pre-pupate larva.


A pre-pupa of A. major.


Another view of pre-pupa of A. major.

The pupa has a typical shape of most lycaenid species with length of 12.5mm. Light brown with numerous dark brown patches. The wing pads are more darker in color  After 8 days, the pupae matures and it external skin becomes transparent revealing the the bluish forewing upperside. The adult emerges in the early morning the next day.


Different views of a pupa


Mature pupa


Mature pupa


A newly enclosed A. major.


Another side of the wings (slightly deformed at the forewing)



References:
  • The Butterflies of The Malay Peninsula, A.S. Corbet and H.M. Pendlebury, 4th Edition, Malayan Nature Society.
  • Butterflies of Thailand, Pisuth Ek-Amnuay