Lesser Albatross
Appias paulina pualina, Felder

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Male Lesser Albatross on dried up river bed

Female Lesser Albatross on dried up river bed

A medium sized butterfly with a wingspan of  50-60mm. The males bear little resemblance to the females. It is a variable insect with distinct wet (lankapura) and dry season (paulina) forms. 
More on seasonal variation.

Similar species
Striped Albatross, Common Albatross.

Female Common Albatross: Resembles the female Lesser Albatross.

Status, distribution and habitat
A very common butterfly of the intermediate and dry zones of the island. It inhabits dry evergreen forests and scrub jungle. It is not found in the hills except during migration.

Its flight is medium paced and somewhat undulating. It spends a great deal of time in the canopy of the trees searching for nectar. In late evenings it roosts in large numbers under the canopy of trees, settled on the upper surface of leaves with their forewings drawn into the hind wings. 

They fly in large numbers during migrations in the company of other white butterflies and often form long beautiful ribbons of hundreds of individuals. On such occasions, they fly within ten to fifteen feet off the ground. Large groups of these butterflies are sometimes seen resting within the forest shade during peak hours for foraging. The reason for such behavior is not documented. This species is a nuclear species in many migrations.

It visits wild flowers readily but does not find ornamentals attractive. The female occurs in smaller numbers and is more retiring and seen less frequently. It tends to keep under cover in the thickets rather than in the open. Both males and females mud-sip during the hottest part of the day and sometimes form large swarms. Their favorite sites are dried up streambeds with a trickle of flowing water or edges of drying up pools. They may be observed closely if approached cautiously. However, it only takes a few wary individuals to get the entire congregation up in the air and soon gone.  

Early stages
No records available, despite being one of the commonest butterflies in the island.

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