Mottled Emigrant
Catopsilia pyranthe, Fabricius

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Mottled Emigrant

Wingspan 50-70mm. The male is smaller than the female and is more variable in size. Although the general pattern and coloration of both sexes are similar, the female has a dusting of black scales on the upperside giving it an off white color.

In the male, the upper side of the apex of the forewing is narrowly black and continues partway along the termen and costa. In the female, the black bands are wider and are continued along the entire length of the costa and termen. Both sexes have a black spot at the distal end of the forewing cell though this spot is sometimes absent in the male. 

In both sexes, the ground color of the underside of the wings is greenish. Except for a small area on the lower half of the forewing, which is unmarked, the remaining areas are marked with very fine reddish-brown lines.

Similar species
The female  Lemon Emigrant (form crocale) resembles the female Mottled Emigrant. However, its upper side has a dusting of yellow scales and a well defined band of spots on the termen of the hind wing. Also, the space between the forewing costa and the upper side of the cell forms a wide black band up to the distal end of the cell. 

Status, distribution and habitat
It occurs all over the island from sea level to about 2000 feet elevation. It is often seen at much higher elevations during migrations. Like the Lemon Emigrant, it occurs in primary and secondary forests, cultivated land, home gardens, waste places and urban areas. It is very seasonal and appears in large numbers during the pre-monsoons periods. It colonizes new areas quite rapidly but may be extirpated locally after a few broods.

Compared to the Lemon Emigrant, its flight is quite slow, straight and less bouncy. It is not a species of the high canopy and is most frequently seen flying just above weedy vegetation or low bushes, stopping now and again to nectar on the flowers of small shrubs and herbs. Unlike the Lemon Emigrant, this species is more partial to wild flowers and is seldom seen on ornamentals. During the hot weather, the males mud-sip, often in the company of other white butterflies. 

Early stages
The larvae feed on various Leguminoseae, Cassia thora being its favorite. The eggs are laid singly on the emerging shoots of the plant.

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