African Babul Blue
Azanus jesous gamra, Guerin

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Female African Babul Blue oviposting on Acacia indica
Male African Babul Blue on bird droppings Female African Babul Blue

A small blue butterfly with a wingspan of  18-24 mm. The shiny blue scales on the upper sides of the male is quite transparent and allow the darker areas of the underside to show through. This transparency gives it a striped appearance of alternating light and dark bands when viewed from above.

The upper sides of the female is mostly brown with a dusting of pale blue scales towards the base of the wings. The under sides of both sexes have a number of black spots and darker coloured bands. 

Similar species
Bright Babul Blue - A much smaller species with 2 distinct submarginal spots on the hind wing.   

Status, distribution and habitat
A common butterfly of the low country below 1000 feet. It is abundant in the driest parts of the island amongst acacia scrub.

A very active butterfly that flies quickly in a zigzag path. After a while, it settles down quite abruptly, usually  at the very edge of twigs and thorns. Around its larval host plants, the males often fly rapidly in circles for quite a while before settling down. The males come readily to bird droppings and wet soil.

Early stages
There are no records of its early stages in Sri Lanka. I have seen it oviposit on the emerging leaves of Acacia indica on many occasions.

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