I found this Suffused Double-banded Judy butterfly, Abisara bifasciata suffusa, on a leaf covered with the fruit-bat dropping in my backyard. I was using a Canon EOS 5DS R with Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens, illuminated by Godox Ving V860c E-TTL Li-ion Camera with LumiQuest SoftBox III to capture this butterfly. This butterfly is quite difficult one to capture. When it is lands on leaves, it never stays in a spot and tends to constantly twist and turn using a series of jerky movements.
Judies are butterflies belonging to the genus Abisara under the family Riodinidae. Riodinidae is the family of metalmark butterflies. The common name “metalmarks” refers to the small metallic-looking spots commonly found on their wings. As of now they comprise of around 13 recognised species found variously in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bhutan, Thailand, West Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, southern China, Laos, Vietnam, the Philippines, Sulawesi and Java. Additionally there are 11 species found in tropical Africa, and also 3 members of a very closely related genus Saribia found in Madagascar.
Most Abisara species have a distinctive stubby or pointed tail on the hindwings, and possess 2 or more prominent ocelli near the apex of the hindwings. That pointed tail is not prominant in Double-banded Judy. The majority have an earthy brown ground colour, although some such as A. burnii and A. saturata have a maroon or plum hue which has given rise to the popular name Plum Judy which is sometimes applied to the group as a whole.
There is a lot of taxonomic confusion regarding Suffused Double-banded Judy butterfly. Indian subspecies under this species were listed by Evans (1932) under Abisara echerius Stoll, 1790 – the Plum Judy and Abisara kausambi Felder & Felder, 1860 – the Straight (Plum) Judy. Bennett (1950) showed A. echerius, A. bifasciata and A. kausambi to be specifically distinct based on differences in their male genitalia. Contrary to popular belief, A. echerius is found in India only in the southern Western Ghats (ssp. prunosa) and the Naga, Manipur and Mizo Hills (ssp. paionea), whereas the butterfly featured here, A. bifasciata suffusa is widely distributed from the Western Ghats to the Vindhya and Satpuda Hills, the Eastern Ghats, Himalaya and NE India up to the Garo and Khasi Hills. Subspecies angulata is found in the Naga Hills, whereas bifasciata is endemic to the Andaman and Nicaobar Islands.
This butterfly prefer to fly in shade or dappled sunlight rather than in open areas. Commonly found in rainforest at elevations between about 200-800m.
Typically the eggs are pale green, dome-shaped and shiny. They are laid singly on the upper surface of leaves of the foodplants Myrsinaceae – Maesa indica, Embelia tsjeriam-cottam . The larvae are cylindrical, tapering sharply toward the tail and towards the small yellow head. The pupa is pale green and slug-like, flattened, with a pointed tail and a blunt head which has a pair of flattened ear-like protrusions. It is formed on the upper surface of a leaf, and has the appearance of a small gall or blister.
This species is usually encountered in two’s and three’s, resting on foliage with the wings half open. Both sexes are timid in behaviour, flitting nervously from leaf to leaf if approached. Females like to settle high up on bushes, or on the lower branches of trees, where they bask on foliage with their wings held half open. When perched on leaves they tend to constantly twist and turn using a series of jerky movements.
They do not nectar at flowers or imbibe moisture from the ground. They appear to obtain most if not all of their sustenance from aphid and psyllid secretions (honeydew) on the upper surface of leaves. They also feed on the bat dropping.
Thanks for Samillan Shetty for helping me to ID the butterfly