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Monday, April 6

Butterflies of India – Yellow Coster (Acraea issoria)

Yellow Coster (Acraea issoria) is a beautiful leathery winged butterfly with a weak but persistent flight, found in countries in the oriental region, like India, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Myanmar and Sumatra. In India, it is seen in the Himalayan foot hills of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram, Nagaland, West Bengal and Sikkim, usually in valleys which are situated at an altitude between 500 to 1500 meters from sea level.

In this video clip, you can find two female Yellow Coster butterflies laying eggs on its larval host plant. Recorded from a Yellow Coster roost in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India during a cloudy day in September.

This yellow coloured butterfly, like other members of the Acraea genus, has curved hind-wings and elongate forewings which are thin-scaled and often make them see-through. It is not uncommon to spot this butterfly in colonies, this butterfly tend to form roosts in areas where its larval host plants belonging to Boehmeria, Debregasia, Elatostema and Pouzolzia genera under the Urticaceae family.

Yellow Coster butterflies keep their wings upright when feeding honey from flowers. They do feed the nectar from a wide range of flowers. They also show the behaviour of basking at the tip of the leaves with their wings spread-out, allowing butterfly enthusiasts have a good look or to click a snap or two.

Yellow Coster is one among the only two butterfly species under the subfamily Acraeini that are found in India. The other Indian representative of this mainly African subfamily of brush-footed butterflies is Tawny Coster (Acraea terpsicore). Apparently, Tawny Coster is the only species of its subfamily found in Peninsular India, since its cousin Yellow Coster tend to habitat Western and Eastern Himalayan region.

This is part of the Butterflies of India series in Indian Biodiversity Talk's YouTube Channel

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