Striped Albatross
Appias libythea, Fabricius

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Female Striped Albatross

Wingspan 42-52 mm. The sexes are very different. In flight, it may be mistaken for a Common or Lesser Albatross, and sometimes a worn Common Gull.

The male is chalky white above and below. On the upper side, the termen of both wings are finely edged with black scales. In addition, there are small triangular black markings where the veins meet the termen. It flight, it looks completely white, the black being almost invisible.

In the female the ground color of the upper side of both wings is white, often suffused basally  with varying amounts of black scales. On the upper side of the forewing there is a black band on the termen which widens towards the apex and runs a short distance on the costal margin. There is a short black subcostal band from about the middle of the costa to the base.
On the under side of the hind wing, the veins are black distally and terminate in broad triangular black markings. The ground color of the under side of the hind wing is off white, gray to pale ochreous, with darker colored markings along the veins. There is almost always a straight darker line at the center of the wing below the cell and a small yellowish orange patch at the base.

Similar species
Lesser Albatross, Common Albatross.

Status, distribution and habitat
A common, widely distributed species found in the dry, intermediate and arid zones. It is an inhabitant of the dry evergreen forests, scrub land and coastal dunes. Though seasonal, fair numbers may be seen all year round.

Very similar to the Pioneer and Common Gull. The females are found in much smaller numbers than the males and are more retiring, remaining around thickets rather than in the middle of open spaces. It joins migratory flights during the north east monsoon in very large numbers, and is often a nuclear species.

Early stages
The larva is green. While at rest, it sits along the midrib of the leaf with its last pair of legs firmly attached to base of the leaf stalk. In this position, it blends with the leaf remarkably well and becomes almost invisible. It feeds at night to avoid detection. The larvae feed on  Crataeva religiosa, Capparis sepiaria, Capparis roxburghii and probably on other capers as well.

The larva of the Striped Albatross

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