Leptosia nina, Fabricius

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Wingspan of 35-50 mm. The smallest white butterfly in the island. The apical half of the forewing is black, and below it, there is a circular black spot. The under side is finely striated with brown to greenish lines which are more pronounced on the hind wing. The wings are quite delicate and easily damaged if mishandled.

Similar species

Status, distribution and habitat
It occurs from sea level to about 2500 feet elevation and is rare above 3000 feet. It is seen all year round and is a common insect of home gardens, farmsteads and forests alike, but seldom numerous.

In flight, the Psyche is unmistakable. Its beautiful slow motion flight is the epitome of tranquility. Always just a foot or two above ground, it flies incessantly, occasionally settling down to nectar on the flowers of small herbs. It is partial to shade and dappled light and stays away from bright open spaces. When at rest, the wings are folded up and held above the abdomen and the forewings are pulled back considerably. As a result, only the distal area of the forewing is visible. It is one of the few butterflies that will fly under overcast conditions.

Early stages
Larvae feed on members of the Capparidaceae. In Colombo, where it is very common, it feeds on species of Cleome. In the drier parts of the country, various species of Capparis are selected as the larval host plant.

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