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Butterfly guide

Blue pansy

Blue pansy

Junonia orithya

Unlike most butterflies this species prefers open fields, often perching on grass between short low flights. This butterfly has intricate patterns of velvet brown, sky blue, pale yellow and orange eyespots on its upperside. Its underside is a mix of pale yellow, brown and orange eyespots.

Food items: Nectar (as butterfly), host plant (as caterpillar)

Host plants: Sweet potato (Ipomea batatas), Justicia procumbens, Asystasia gangetica, Plantago, Striga, Thunbergia alata

Microhabitat: Gardens, roadsides and open areas

Ecological Function: Pollinator

Food chain level: Primary consumer

Dispersal: Likely it has limited dispersal range, but it can move through open areas and road verges

Blue pansy (Junonia orithya), female
Blue pansy (Junonia orithya), female (underside)
Blue pansy (Junonia orithya), male (underside)

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Butterflies: Tiny grass blue

Tiny grass blue

Zizula hylax

A very small butterfly, often seen feeding on low wildflowers. It looks like other small blue butterflies, but is slightly duller blue or occasionally violet from certain angles. The patterns of black dots and gray bars are used to identify this species. Its host plants are a variety of common wildflowers.

Food items: Nectar (as butterfly), host plant (as caterpillar)

Host plants: Acanthaceae, Justicia procumbens, Asystasia gangetica, Ruellia repens, Hemigraphis reptans

Microhabitat: Gardens, roadsides and open areas

Ecological Function: Pollinator

Food chain level: Primary consumer

Dispersal: Likely it has limited dispersal range, but it can move through open areas and road verges

Tiny grass blue (Zizula hylax), female
Tiny grass blue (Zizula hylax), male
(underside)
Tiny grass blue (Zizula hylax), female
(underside)

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Butterflies: Common grass blue

Common grass blue

Zizina otis lampa

Very common but often unnoticed because of their size, these tiny butterflies are found in almost all green spaces and road verges. It looks like a dull gray butterfly from a distance, but its wings open to reveal reflective deep blue. This species can be differentiated from similar species based on the pattern of dots on the underside of the wings. Its host plants are low growing Desmodium and Semalu plants that are commonly found between grass in fields.

Food items: Nectar (as butterfly), host plant (as caterpillar)

Host plants: Desmodium, Mimosa pudica and Alysicarpus vaginalis

Microhabitat: Gardens, roadsides and open areas

Ecological Function: Pollinator

Food chain level: Primary consumer

Dispersal: Likely it has limited dispersal range, but it can move through open areas and road verges

Common grass blue (Zizina otis), female
(underside)

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Butterflies: Peacock pansy

Peacock pansy

Junonia almana

The underside of this butterfly is an unremarkable pale tan traversed with dark brown lines and dotted with a few black and yellow eye spots. The uppersides of the wings are a rich orange, with eye spots that are violet and deep red. Its caterpillars are known to feed on a wide variety of wildflowers and the adults can be seen in short fast flights within wildflower patches.

Food items: Nectar (as butterfly), host plant (as caterpillar)

Host plants: Mimosa pudica and Acanthaceae

Microhabitat: Gardens, roadsides and open areas

Ecological Function: Pollinator

Food chain level: Primary consumer

Dispersal: Likely it has limited dispersal range, but it can move through open areas and road verges

Peacock pansy (Junonia almana)
(underside)

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Butterflies: Tawny coster

Tawny coster

Acraea terpiscore

A bright orange butterfly with black spots, its hindwing fringed with a white and black border. It flies slow and not very high. Originating from India, this butterfly has naturally expanded its range since the 90’s to include Peninsular Malaysia. Now it is one of the most common butterfly species in cities. Its host plant is primarily passionflowers, but other hosts have also been reported. Adults are commonly seen feeding on sunflower family wildflowers.

Food items: Nectar (as butterfly), host plant (as caterpillar)

Host plants: Passiflora suberosa, Passiflora foetida

Microhabitat: Gardens, roadsides, secondary growth

Ecological Function: Pollinator

Food chain level: Primary consumer

Dispersal: Likely it has limited dispersal range, but it can move through open areas and road verges

Tawny coster (Acraea terpiscore)
(underside)

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Butterflies: Common four ring

Common four ring

Ypthima huebneri

These low flying butterflies are a dull brown gray, but they are adorned with black and yellow eye spots that are used to confuse predators. It looks almost the same as the common three ring, but instead of three eye spots on the underside hind wing, it has four. Like other ring butterflies, its host plant is grasses.

Food items: Nectar (as butterfly), host plant (as caterpillar)

Host plants: Gramineae

Microhabitat: Gardens, roadsides, secondary growth and forest borders

Ecological Function: Pollinator

Food chain level: Primary consumer

Dispersal: Likely it has limited dispersal range, but it can move through open areas and road verges

Common four ring (Ypthima huebneri)
(underside)

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Butterflies: Common three ring

Common three ring

Ypthima pandocus

At a glance, this gray brown butterfly may not be very attractive. But close inspection reveals yellow eye spots along the edge of the wing, some with dots of metallic blue set in a black pupil. This species is differentiated from the common four ring by only having 3 eyespots on its hindwing. This butterfly is associated with gardens and green spaces since its caterpillars feed on the fast growing Goat grass (Ischaemum muticum) which is usually used in lawns in Malaysia.

Food items: Nectar (as butterfly), host plant (as caterpillar)

Host plants: Gramineae, Ishcaemum muticum

Microhabitat: Gardens, roadsides, secondary growth and forest borders

Ecological Function: Pollinator

Food chain level: Primary consumer

Dispersal: Likely it has limited dispersal range, but it can move through open areas and road verges

Common three ring (Ypthima pandocus)
(underside)

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Butterflies: Psyche

Psyche

Leptosia nina

A little white butterfly with a single black corner and dot on the upperside of each wing. Its underside is covered in mottled green gray stripes. It flies at a slow relaxed pace, but is easily startled when approached. Usually it is found flying near shadier parts of gardens, visiting wildflowers like Coromandels. The host of this butterfly are Capers (Capparis) although it can also feed on Maman as well.

Food items: Nectar (as butterfly), host plant (as caterpillar)

Host plants: Capparis heneana, Crateva religiosa, Cleome rutidosperma

Habitat: Gardens, roadsides, secondary growth and forest borders

Ecological Function: Pollinator

Food chain level: Primary consumer

Dispersal: Likely it has limited dispersal range, but it can move through open areas and road verges

Psyche (Leptosia nina)
(underside)

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Butterflies: Striped albatross

Striped albatross

Appias lyncida

Flying low but cautious, the males wings are striped with black on a pure white ground. At the base of the forewing is a faint spot of yellow. The females are a less stark contrast, dark brown stripes are dusted on a gray tinged ground, with orange yellow diffusing through the hind wing. One of the easiest butterflies to attract to a garden, as the host plant is the common Maman Ungu wildflower.

Food items: Nectar (as butterfly), host plant (as caterpillar)

Host plants: Cleome rutidosperma

Microhabitat: Gardens, roadsides, secondary growth and forests

Ecological Function: Pollinator

Food chain level: Primary consumer

Dispersal: A strong flier that can cross urban areas.

Striped albatross (Appias lyncida)
(underside)

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Butterflies: Common grass yellow

Common grass yellow

Eurema hecabe

A flutter of light sulphur wings, this erratic fast flying butterfly is a common sight in gardens. It has a variety of hosts, so it can take advantage of many ornamental and wild trees. Its yellow wings are dotted with brown spots on the underside and the upperside front wings have a dark chocolate brown corner.

Food items: Nectar (as butterfly), host plant (as caterpillar)

Host plants: Pithecellobium, Cassia, Moullava, Acacia, Caesalpinia, Albizia and Sesbania

Habitat: Gardens, roadsides, secondary growth

Ecological Function: Pollinator

Food chain level: Primary consumer

Dispersal: Likely it has limited dispersal range, but it can move through open areas and road verges

Common grass yellow (Eurema hecabe)
(underside)

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