Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Common Jezebel


Common Jezebel
(Delias eucharis)

  • Description: Upperside of male white or bluish white with prominent black veins and black outer discal band in both wings. Marginal black band with arrow of white sots in forewings and light pink spots in the hindwings. Female dull white with yellow and pink tinge. Veins and spots heavily marked in the forewings. Underside hindwingspale yellow ( rarely dark ) with black veins and a row of white ringed red or pink marginal spots, bordered black on both sides in both the sexes. Wingspan 66-83mm. Only species of Delias, widely distributed in our country with unmistakable bright colours on the underside of the wings unlike other butterflies to warn the predators. Weak flier fluttering about but on the wing throughout the year. 

  • Distribution: In most of its range, this species is common. Generally found all over India, except in the desert tracts, and up to an altitude of 7000 feet in the hills. The butterfly may be found wherever there are trees, even in towns and cities, flying high among the trees and visiting flowers.

  • Habits: It is commonly seen in gardens. The females can be seen flying amongst the trees in search of its foodplants, while the males are more frequently observed visiting flowers for nectar or mud-puddling. It rests with its wings closed exhibiting the brilliantly coloured underside. The Jezebel often flies high up in the canopy and usually comes lower down only to feed on nectar in flowers. Due to this habit apparently, it has evolved a dull upperside and a brilliant underside so that birds below it recognise it immediately while in flight and at rest.
  • Reproduction: The Common Jezebel, like the Pioneer, but quite unlike other Whites and Yellows, is a butterfly which lays eggs in batches, instead of laying them singly. Each batch consists of about ten to twenty eggs, although in rare cases up to a hundred eggs may be laid together. They are usually laid on the underside of leaves. the eggs are oval, shiny, and bright yellow. All the eggs from one batch hatch together. the new-born caterpillars devour the eggshells and then move on to eat fresh leaves. They live and feed together and always stay in a disciplined army fashion: all resting side by side with their heads in one direction, and whatever they do they do together.
  • Host Plants: The host plants are various species of small shrubs which are plant parasites growing on branches of trees such as Loranthus. Their ability to form dense aggregations as caterpillars and to feed on Loranthus has led to suggestions that they could be used for control of this parasite.