Dark Wanderer
Pareronia ceylanica, Felder

Home | Ecological zones | Butterflies | Larval food plants | Nectar food plants | Dragonflies | Moths | Other insects | Links | Sightings| Glossary

A medium sized blue and black butterfly with a wingspan of 60-80 mm. 

The male is beautiful sky blue above with broad dark bands along the termen. The bands are variable in colour and width. The under side is a paler blue, often carrying a pearly sheen, specially in freshly emerged specimens. 

The female looks very different from the male and mimics the members of the blue tiger family exceptionally well.

Male Dark Wanderer on Kalanchoe

Similar species
The Blue Tigers. More information.

Status, distribution and habitat
It is a common butterfly of the arid, dry and intermediate zones of the island and ascends the hills up to about 1500 feet elevation. It loves scrub jungle with open spaces.

The habits of the 2 sexes differ greatly. The male has a strong flight and flies relentlessly all day long in search of females and food, and hence its name, the Wanderer. It keeps low to the ground and flies in a hurried manner, stopping now and again to nectar on wild flowers or inspect a potential mate. While nectaring, it hangs on the flowers at an incline with half open wings and remains quite still. After feeding, it flies away for a while before visiting the next flower. 

The female is more retiring and often stays in the vicinity of the larval host plants, and is rarely seen flying about in the company of the males. When flying through open spaces, which it does from time to time, it mimics the flight of the 'blue tigers' so well that it requires an experienced observer to identify the cheat, mostly because of its ability to come up with many different identities - some look like the Blue Tiger, others like the Glassy Tiger and so on. The females are much easier to observe and identify when they are around their larval host plant. 

Early stages

Larva of Dark Wanderer

The eggs are laid in batches on the underside of older leaves. Surprisingly, the newly emerged larva seems to feed on these old leathery leaves without much difficulty. During the day it remains well camouflaged and safe from predators by resting quietly along the midrib of a leaf. It moves about to feed only after sundown. Pupation occurs not far from its feeding site and is often on the same vine.

Larval host plants: Cappariz zeylanica is the preferred host in the island though it also uses other members of the Capparidaceae.

Previous  |  Next

Danaidae | Satyridae | Amathusiidae | Nymphalidae | Acraeidea | Libytheidae | Riodinidae | Lycaenidae | Pieridae | Papilionidae | Hesperidae