08 December 2012

Life History of the Orange Tailed Awl

Life History of the Orange Tailed Awl (Bibasis sena  uniformis)

Butterfly Biodata:
Genus: Bibasis Moore, 1881
Species: sena Moore, 1866

Sub-species: uniformis Elwes & Edwards, 1897
Wingspan of Adult Butterfly: 45-50mm
Caterpillar Local Host Plant: Hiptage benghalensis (Malpighiaceae).

Physical Description of Adult Butterfly:
Above, both sexes are dark brown and without any markings. Underneath, both sexes are dark brown with a prominent white discal band in the hindwing, from space 1b to the costa. A large white discal patch sits in the lower half of the forewing. The upper end of this white patch is diffused into a shinning purplish blue smudge. The hindwing, produced at its tornus, is adorned with bright orange cilia along the termen from the tornal area to vein 4. The legs are colored pale yellowish orange.

Field Observations of Butterfly Behaviour:
This species is moderately rare in Singapore. Due to its crepuscular habit, the adults are rarely sighted by butterfly watchers. Essentially a forest species, Orange Tailed Awl can be found in the nature reserves as well as the Singapore Botanic Gardens, where its known local host plant H. benghalensis can be found in relative abundance in one area. Similar to the Hasora spp., the adults of Orange Tailed Awl have a swift, strong and darting flight, and have a habit of perching on the underside of a leaf when resting. The males have also been found puddling on wet grounds.