Butler's Spotted Pierrot
Tarucus calinara Butler

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Butler's Spotted Pierrot

Mating pair of Butler's Spotted Pierrot. Male below.

Description
A small blue butterfly with a wingspan of 18-23 mm. The sexes are very different on the upper side but very similar below. The upper side of male is a uniform metallic blue with a hint of purple and is bounded along the outer margins by a fine black border. The upper side is semi-transparent and the markings of the under side show through when viewed from above. In the female, the blue is restricted to the basal part of the wings. The apical area of the forewing has a checkerboard appearance with black and white markings. The undersides of both sexes are marked by black streaks and stripes that are uniformly distributed over the entire wing.

Similar species
The Striped Pierrot. The second row of small black lines from the outer margin of both wings are connected to each other and form a continuous line. The corresponding row in the Butler's Spotted Pierrot is a series of discrete black markings (image above). In addition, the Striped Pierrot is confined to the North of the island.

Status, distribution and habitat
It is a resident of arid zones of the island and has been recorded mostly from Hambantota area on the east coast. It is found all year round but is scarce and local. It is usually encountered in and around the thorny bushes of Ziziphus on the coastal dunes.


Thorny scrub on sand dunes next to the sea with Palmarah Palms, Opuntia Cactus,
Spinifex grass and a few species of Ziziphus and Acacia.

Habits
It flies fast and and stays atop or around thorny shrub but does not fly too far from the larval food plant. It often settles at the tip of dead twigs, and the males often give chase to passing butterflies.

Early stages
No records available in Sri Lanka. The larvae feed on Ziziphus jujuba in India.

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