The Wizard

Scientific Name
Rhinopalpa polynice
CRAMER, 1779
Specie in
Rhinopalpa polynice, Taman Negara, West Malaysia - Adrian Hoskins
Rhinopalpa polynice, Taman Negara, West Malaysia – Adrian Hoskins


The Wizard is the only member of the genus Rhinopalpa. The genus gets its name from the pair of long scaly palpi projecting from the butterfly’s head.

Rhinopalpa polynice is found in Assam, Myanmar, Thailand, West Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Sarawak, Sabah, Brunei, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Java and Bali.


This species is found in lowland rainforest, including disturbed areas around villages, and along roadsides, at elevations between about 100-500 metres.


The eggs are laid singly on the larval foodplant Poikilopserma suaveolens ( Urticaceae ).

The caterpillar when fully grown is reddish-brown, marked with black spots along the back and sides; and possesses a double row of long, barbed, recurved spines along the back, and another row of similar spines along each side. A pair of bristly tentacle-like long curved processes project from the head.

The chrysalis is a strange object, and resembles a curled up dead leaf. It is pale brown, with darker spots and specks, and has 3 pairs of horns along the back. The pair nearest the thorax are much larger than the others, and are curved upward and backward, very much like the horns of a cow.

Adult behaviour

Males are occasionally seen in open sunlit areas, imbibing moisture from the edges of ditches or small streams, with their wings held erect. The butterfly depicted on this page was seen along a narrow forest trail, appearing as soon as the sun emerged from behind the clouds. The photograph at the top of the page was the result of lucky timing on the part of the photographer – the butterfly spent several minutes walking about over leaf litter on the forest floor, all the time rapidly fanning its wings, and I was fortunate to catch it at the moment the wings were fully open.

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Butterfly of
Scientific Name
Rhinopalpa polynice
CRAMER, 1779

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