I dreamt; and in my dream
I was a butterfly.
I woke; or is it simply
That, weary of the sky,
Some butterfly is sleeping
And dreams that it is I?
– Zhuangzi (369-286 BC)
Butterflies are among the most conspicuous and most beautiful of all insects. Along with moths, they make up the order Lepidoptera. There are more than a quarter of a million species of Lepidoptera world-wide, of which about 20,000 are butterflies. Butterflies are the final stage of a complex metamorphic process that begins with the egg then continues through the larval (caterpillar) and pupal stages to the emergence of the adult. As an adult, the butterfly’s biological role, in its generally brief existence, is to survive and to mate in order to ensure that its genes are perpetuated.
This Dark Blue Tiger (Tirumala septentorious) butterfly was captured using Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens on Canon EOS 5D Mark III. I was testing the close focus performance of the lens. It was hand held at minimum focusing distance of 3.7 meters. The magnification is not great (0.15x). What you are seeing here are 50% cropped images. With 25mm Extension tube I would have got a better magnification. Since I was not carrying ET that day, I was had to satisfy with just the lens.
Dark Blue Tiger belongs to the crows and tigers, that is, the danaid group of the brush-footed butterfly family. This butterfly shows gregarious migratory behaviour in southern India.
It closely resembles Blue Tiger (Tirumala limniace), but is always sufficiently distinct to be easily recognized, even on the wing. From T. limniace it differs on the upperside in the ground-colour being darker and the bluish markings narrower, more distinct, and of a bluer tint, In the fore wing, in interspace 1 the two streaks are narrower, never joined, the upper one forming an oval detached spot; the short streaks above vein 5 are outwardly never truncate, always acute. In the hind wing the two streaks if the discoidal cell united at base are wide apart at their apices, the lower one never formed into a hook. On the underside this species is generally darker, the apex of the fore wing and the whole of the ground-colour of the hind wing not being of the conspicuous golden brown that they are in Tirumala limniace.
The butterfly larva generally feed on plants of family Asclepiadaceae from which alkaloids are accumulated in the body. The butterfly carries this toxin thus making it unpalatable to its predators. The recorded host plants are: Vallaris dichotoma, Cosmostigma racemosa, Heterostemma brownii and Cocculus spp.
Eggs are pale white. Caterpillar is orangish white with dark stripes across the body. Pupa is Green with beaded dorsal crescent.
It is found in whole of India, Sri Lanka and some parts of Southeast Asia.