Spalgis epeus, Westwood
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Male Apefly on my thumb

A small blue with a wingspan of 20-25 mm. Although the sexes are similar in colour and appearance, the male can be easily distinguished by its sharp, pointed forewings. There is much variation in size and markings between wet and dry season forms. The dry season forms are the smallest. The upper surface of both wings are a dull brown with white markings on the forewing above the cell. The under side is a very light gray with a hint of brown, marked by a number of fine wavy lines. Towards the base of the wings, the interspaces between the lines are darker in colour.

Similar species
The upper sides of the Quaker and Malayan are similar. However, the under sides of both these species are white with black spots and small fine lines.

Status, distribution and habitat
It is widely distributed below 3000 feet and is found all year round. It is uncommon and never numerous. It is mostly a forest dweller, although on occasion it may be encountered in cultivated areas.

It has a typical Lycaenid flight. It spends its time flying about small trees or shrubs. It often settles on leaves or blooms, but not within easy reach. It occupies the mid level canopy of the forest and is seldom encountered at ground level.

Early stages
The eggs are laid in close proximity to colonies of mealy bugs. Soon after hatching, the larvae move into mealy bug colonies and feed on them. They disguise themselves cleverly by placing the downy mealy bug fluff on their backs. The pupa has an remarkable resemblance to the head of an ape - hence its name Apefly. It is the only known species of butterfly in Sri Lanka that is carnivorous.

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