I found this tiny grass blue butterfly foraging in my backyard. I used Canon EOS 5DS R with Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens. This was illuminated by Godox Ving V860c E-TTL Li-ion Camera with LumiQuest SoftBox III to capture this tiny butterfly.
Tiny Grass Blue, (Zizula hylax), is known to be the second smallest butterfly seen in India. The butterfly was resting on a very low grass blossom. The background was pretty cluttered. I tried using f/5.6 to get a cleaner background. I was almost lying on the ground to get an eye level view through my viewfinder, and to keep the lens perpendicular to the surface of the wings (to keep everything in focus). Even then, some area is not in perfect focus, I admit. Such a low position makes it very difficult to confirm whether the butterfly was really in focus or not. I prefer articulated screen (as in the upcoming Canon EOS 6D Mark II) as that allows me to go further down without awkwardly hurting my neck.
There is only one other butterfly known to be the smaller than this, Grass Jewel or Freyeria trochylus. There is just about 1 mm difference between the wingspans of both; Zizula hylax is about 16 mm while Freyeria trochylus is about 15 mm.
This butterfly is also called Little Grass-blue, Dainty Grass-blue. The wingspan of male 15 mm; female 16 mm. Upperside. male – lilac; fore wing with termen broadly brown; hindwing with termen narrowly brown. Female – dull brown, sometimes faintly suffused with blue. Underside, male – ground colour pale grey, with a series of small brown-black spots. Female is similar to male. Several subspecies have been recognised.
It can be distinguished from Dark Grass Blue Zizeeria karsandra, which has a similar series of spots on the underside, by its smaller size and narrower wings, and the presence of two small spots above the cell near the Costa of the forewing.
The tiny grass blue is found in several races throughout tropical and subtropical Africa, Asia, and Oceania, including India, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Swaziland, north and east coasts of Australia and also in southern Australia.
The eggs are pale green, round, and flattened, with a diameter of about 0.5 millimetres. They are laid singly on buds and flowers of a food plant. The caterpillars are 0.7 centimetres long, green with a dark red line along the back, and light and dark lines partway along the sides. The sides are hairy, and the head is a pale brown. The pupa is 0.7 cm long, hairy and green, and is attached to a stem or the underside of a leaf of a food plant.
Food plants include various members of the family Acanthaceae include Kokilaksha, Hygrophila auriculata and Phaulopsis dorsiflora.
EXIF info – Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS 5DS R | Taken : 10 January, 2016 | Flash fired : yes | Focal length : 100mm | ISO : 100 | Location : 13° 4.0311′ 0″ N 74° 59.7279′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/100s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.