Saturday, May 15, 2010

Eggs guarding behavior of Hypolimnas anomala anomala (Malayan Eggfly)

The Malayan Eggfly, is a remarkable butterflies where the female showing a unique behaviour of "guarding" their eggs. Some female remains standing over their eggs even until the larvae dispersed to other leaves, and apparently may die in this position (Johnston et al., 1981). This remarkable behaviour is not recorded in others butterfly except Hypolimnas antilope (Schreiner and Nafus, 1991).

The particular female in the photos below, laid more than 1000 eggs. Click on the photo to view higher resolution image with marking.

From field observation, survival rate probably lower than 0.5 percent (only 5 caterpillars found to survive till 5th instar). However, in control environment, all 14 collected caterpillars reached 5th instar (100% survival rate), but interestingly, half of them didn't manage to hang the pupa firm enough on the branches provided but fell on to the bottom of container, and upon closer check, the silk-pad is simply to thin for the pupa to hold on and that could be one of the reason why the pupa can't attached firmly.