Common Caerulean

Scientific Name
Jamides celeno
CRAMER, 1775
Specie in
Family
Jamides celeno, ( wet season form ) - Adrian Hoskins
Jamides celeno, ( wet season form ) – Adrian Hoskins

Introduction

Members of the tribe Polyommatini are characterised by being small in size, and marked on the underside with a pattern of small spots or striations. The uppersides of males are in most species covered in metallic blue scales, while females are predominantly dull earthy brown in colouration.

The tribe has worldwide distribution and contains such familiar species as the Long-tailed Blue Lampides boeticus, Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus, African Tiger Blues Tarucus spp., and Oriental genera including Castalius, Zizeeria, Nacaduba and Jamides.

The genus Jamides contains about 30 species, all of which carry a distinctive underside pattern comprised of white or buff striations on a greyish-brown ground colour. All the species also bear an orange-edged black spot at the tornus, and a single thin tail. Males have bluish uppersides, which vary from pale silvery blue in celeno to vivid ultramarine, purple or turquoise in various other species. Females are similar to the males, but the apex and outer margins of their forewings are dark brown or black in most species.

Jamides celeno is the commonest and most widespread member of the genus, occurring in Sri Lanka, India, Assam, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, Java, Taiwan, the Philippines, Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea.

Jamides celeno, ( dry season form ) Orissa, India - Haraprasan Nayak
Jamides celeno, ( dry season form ) Orissa, India – Haraprasan Nayak

Habitats

This species breeds in disturbed evergreen and deciduous forest habitats at altitudes between sea level and about 1600m.

Lifecycle

The fully grown larvae are a dingy reddish-olive colour, and covered with minute white tubercles. They feed on the foliage of various plants including Trichilia, Pueraria and Saraca ( Leguminosae ), and are attended by ants of several species, which milk them to obtain a sugary secretion.

Adult behaviour

Both sexes are commonly seen flying around flowering bushes in forest-edge habitats including gardens, roadsides, railway cuttings and archaeological sites. They often rest on foliage at heights between about 1 – 3 metres, choosing bushes in dappled sunlight.

Males are frequently seen imbibing mineralised moisture from damp soil and leaf-litter on the forest floor. When feeding the head is always dipped. The pattern of white striations diverts the eyes of avian predators away from the real head, and towards the orange-rimmed back ocellus and “false-antennae” tails. Attacking birds aim their beaks towards the area in which they predict a butterfly will try to make it’s escape, i.e. in front of the head. The markings on the wings fool them into aiming just behind the butterfly instead, and the insect makes it’s escape in the opposite direction.

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Butterfly of
Scientific Name
Jamides celeno
by
CRAMER, 1775
Family
SubFamily
POLYOMMATINAE
Tribe
POLYOMMATINI
SubTribe
N/A

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