Monkey Puzzle

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The Monkey Puzzle is common and present in all the Western Ghat districts of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Goa. It is common but not found in all the Ghat districts of Maharashtra and does not occur in Gujarat at all.

This butterfly is found in jungle areas of moderate to heavy rainfall - both, in heavy forest and scrub. The butterfly occurs below 900 meters or so. It keeps to undergrowth and can be seen along forest paths and in clearings.

The butterfly has a weak flight, it stays low and does not fly for long without alighting. Its method of alighting is interesting - as soon as it lands, it turns around and waggles its tail filaments, it also sidesteps for a while - all this is apparently to confuse a predator as to which side is the head. This is a likely reason that the first naturalists may have named the species the Monkey Puzzle.

Sexes alike. Wingspan - 26 to 28 mm. Upperside - The butterfly is dark brown. It has a white-spot end cell. It has narrow white spots on 2 and 3 which form a short band on the forewing. On the UPH it has two black tornal spots and narrow dark reddish spot above them. Underside - The butterfly is white to dark yellowish brown. Forewing has irregular dark basal markings with a curved white discal line. The apical two-fifths are a rich dark brown colour. The hindwing has a silvery margin with many irregular black lines and spots within. It has three tails, being 2 mm, 6 mm and 2.5 mm in length.

Photos

Monkey Puzzle @ Valvan Dam, Lonavala, Maharashtra
Monkey Puzzle
Monkey Puzzle