Protective Methods

Life in the wild is always dangerous and protection against predators is a must,
Especially for small creatures for their survival. [1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8] Butterflies use many protective methods throughout their life cycle, altogether using their colors, color patterns, behaviors and micro habitats.

Tamil Yoeman (Cirrochroa thais) uses a special method of egg laying, to minimize the attacks from parasites through micropylar pit. It lays eggs on one another as a tower, revealing only the micropylar pit of last egg. Eggs of Baron (Euthalia aconthea) And Gaudy Baron (Euthalia lubentina) are having spines like projections along ribs for camouflage.

Considering the color and color pattern of larvae, many species use them for hiding (camouflage) while some appear prominently to scare predators. Papilionid larvae uses both of these methods. In early instars they resemble a bird dropping on leaves but strategy being used is completely changed when they grow bigger than a bird dropping. [9,10] Latter instars have vivid contrasting colors to warn predators. Also papilionids have an appendage called 'osmaterium' inside the frontier part of the body, which can suddenly erect out to resemble a wagging snake's tongue. [11] Larvae of the same species of some Lycinids are in different color forms which give camouflage where it is fed on. [12,13] Normally night time feeders have dark colors.

Scary looking larvae with spines are able to prevent the approach of predators. Cylindrical larvae without any spines, used to be in along ribs when they are at rest. [14] Some larvae are having protection by living in concealed places such as within fruit shells [15] and casings made by them.[16]

Larvae of some Lycinids have a co-relation with Red Ants for their protection. [17,18] These larvae is capable of emitting a sugary liquid, which is eagerly fed by Red Ants - දිමියා (Oecophylla smaragdina), where ants protect larvae against predators for this liquid. Larvae of Red Spot has been reared in captivity without Red ants and locally known "Thel koobi"- තෙල් කූඹි attracted for sugary liquid, but finally larvae too attacked by them. It is not enough to have its larval food plant to lay eggs for these species but also they need Red Ants on them.

Next >