Tagiades japetus (Stoll, 1781)
Pied Black and White Flat
(one synonym : Pterygospidea japetus)
PYRGINAE ,   HESPERIIDAE ,   HESPERIOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Tagiades japetus
(Photo: courtesy of Martin Purvis)

This Caterpillar is mainly grey with pale green speckles, and has a pale thorax and last abdominal segment. The head is dark brown and heart-shaped. By day, the Caterpillar lives under a triangular piece of leaf cut from its foodplant and folded over. At night, the Caterpillar emerges and feeds. Its foodplant is :

  • Yam ( Dioscorea transversa, DIOSCOREACEAE ).

    Tagiades japetus
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The Caterpillar pupates in its shelter.

    The adult butterfly has dark brown body. The forewings are dark brown, each having a series of white spots. The hind wings are dark brown at the base fading to white on the trailing edge, and each has two dark brown spots. The underside is nearly identical to the upper surface. The wing span is about 4 cms.

    The butterflies often rest with wings open flat in the shade under a leaf, with the head pointing down.

    Tagiades japetus
    underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The species is found as a series of subspecies all over south-east Asia, from India to the Solomons, including

  • India,
  • Thailand,

    and subspecies janetta Butler, 1870, is found along the coastal strip of north-east Australia in

  • Queensland.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp 73-74.

    G.A. Wood,
    The life history of Tagiades japetus janetta Butler (Lepidoptera:Hesperiidae:Pyrginae),
    Australian Entomological Magazine, Volume 12, Part 1, p. 85.


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    (updated 5 January 2010, 29 September 2013)