Blue Tiger
Tirumala limniace leopardus, Butler

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Male Blue Tiger mud-sipping

A large butterfly with a wingspan of 75-95 mm. Sexes are similar. At rest, the male can be distinguished from the female by the bell-shaped elevated scent patche located between the first and second veins of the hind wing. The upper side of both wings is black with pale blue markings. These markings are broad streaks at the base of the wings but become smaller and more circular towards the outer margins. The ground color of the under side is a beautiful olivaceous brown. The markings below are similar to those on the upper side.

Similar species
Dark Blue Tiger, Glassy Blue Tiger, Glassy Tiger, Female Dark Wanderer and Common Mime. More information.

Status, distribution and habitat
A very common butterfly of the lower elevations. It is found throughout the year but is most plentiful during the south-west and north-east monsoons. It favors open spaces with scrub jungle or secondary growth and frequents fences that are overgrown with vegetation, especially when this includes its larval host plants. 

It flies at all heights, but seldom above ten to fifteen feet above ground. It has a characteristic slow meandering flight and moves forward with a few wing beats followed by a spell of gliding. The wings are held in a 'V' shaped angle during the glide. It is attracted to a wide variety of wild flowers but avoids most ornamentals. The males visit wet soil and muddy patches, though infrequently. In the evenings, they roost in large numbers inside the canopy of trees by hanging onto dead twigs or small bare branches. 

When foraging, the males are irresistibly attracted in large numbers to dead plant parts of Heliotropium indicum or the pods of Crotalaria pallida. Once settled, they are quite inconspicuous. When surprised they take to the air, their wings often hitting against each other or the vegetation to produce a rustling sound. But they seldom fly far. After circling a few times in the vicinity, they soon come back to settle down on the same plant or one nearby. While feeding, they frequently open and close their wings in a slow and controlled manner. The reason for this is unknown. It joins migratory flights.

More information about Danaids

Danaids on Heliotropium indicum Blue Tigers on Crotalaria pallida

Early stages
The larval food plants belong to the family Asclepiadaceae. Wattakaka volubilis, Tylophora indica and Calotropis gigantea are some of the commonly used larval host plants.

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