Small Branded Swift
Pleopidas mathias, Fabricius

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The art of nectaring on long necked flowers.


Small Branded Swift - Nectaring on Catharanthus rosea

A small brown skipper with white markings on the upper surface of the fore wing and similar markings on the under sides of the hind wing. The ground colour of the wings and the size of the spots are quite variable.

Similar species
Large Branded Swift, Little Branded Swift and Wallace's Swift. This is a very difficult group of butterflies to identify correctly in the field.

Status, distribution and habitat
It is a common skipper from sea level to about 1000 feet elevation. Its habitats are quite varied from edges of rice fields, canals, waste places, farms to coconut plantations. 

Like most skippers, it flies very fast and takes off from its perch explosively. It is quite difficult to follow it in flight because of its dark colour, small size and speed. However, its flight often lasts only a few fleeting seconds before it settles close to the ground. It basks in the sun in the typical skipper style with its hind wings held more or less horizontal and the forewings held up almost vertically or at a slight incline. During rest, it keeps its wings closed above its body.

Early stages
The larvae feed on grasses.

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