Tawny coster

Acraea terpsicore

''Acraea terpsicore'', the tawny coster, is a small, 53–64 millimetres , leathery-winged butterfly common in grassland and scrub habitats. It belongs to the Nymphalidae or brush-footed butterfly family. It has a weak fluttery flight. It is avoided by most insect predators. This species and the yellow coster are the only two Indian representatives of the predominantly African tribe Acraeini. It is found in India, Sri Lanka, Maldives to Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
Tawny Coster Butterfly, Acraea terpsi "Mating"  Acraea terpsicore,Geotagged,Indonesia,Summer,Tawny coster

Distribution

This species does not fly high, but seems to keep within 3 m of the ground and tends to rest on vegetation in the regions of a meter off the ground. ''Acraea terpsicore'' can be seen in abundance wherever its larval food plant is found. The adult tends to avoid dense undergrowth and shady areas, instead keeping to open spaces in all types of vegetation.

The adult flies slowly with weak seemingly unsteady wing beats. It is one of the boldest butterflies, protected as it is from predators by a nauseous chemical. When attacked it plays dead and exudes a noxious yellowish fluid from glands in the joints of the legs. Like all butterflies protected in this manner, ''Acraea terpsicore'' has a tough exoskeleton which enables the adult to survive a few pecks of a bird or even the bites of a lizard. Once left alone the adult immediately takes off and resumes its uncaring flight.

When feeding on flowers, this butterfly is unhurried, often spending a long time sitting on the same flower. When sitting it either spreads its wings or closes them over its back the hindwings covering the forewings to a large extent. Sometimes the butterfly will not sit, but rest gently on the flower while feeding, while doing this, to maintain balance, it beats only its forewings while keeping the hindwings completely steady.
Acraea butterfly Bright orange color, Black spots, sitting calm, Photo captured at Parvati hills, Pune Acraea,Acraea terpsicore,Butterfly,Geotagged,India,Summer,Tawny Coster

Behavior

The butterfly breeds on plants of the family Loganiaceae and species of ''Passiflora'' many of which contain toxins that are sequestered by the caterpillars. They have also been noted to feed on the leaves of ''Hybanthus enneaspermus'' in Bengal and on ''Turnera ulmifolia'' in Maharashtra.
Tawny Coster Butterfly, Acraea terpsicore Linnaeus  Acraea terpsicore,Geotagged,Indonesia,Summer,Tawny Coster

Habitat

This species does not fly high, but seems to keep within 3 m of the ground and tends to rest on vegetation in the regions of a meter off the ground. ''Acraea terpsicore'' can be seen in abundance wherever its larval food plant is found. The adult tends to avoid dense undergrowth and shady areas, instead keeping to open spaces in all types of vegetation.

The adult flies slowly with weak seemingly unsteady wing beats. It is one of the boldest butterflies, protected as it is from predators by a nauseous chemical. When attacked it plays dead and exudes a noxious yellowish fluid from glands in the joints of the legs. Like all butterflies protected in this manner, ''Acraea terpsicore'' has a tough exoskeleton which enables the adult to survive a few pecks of a bird or even the bites of a lizard. Once left alone the adult immediately takes off and resumes its uncaring flight.

When feeding on flowers, this butterfly is unhurried, often spending a long time sitting on the same flower. When sitting it either spreads its wings or closes them over its back the hindwings covering the forewings to a large extent. Sometimes the butterfly will not sit, but rest gently on the flower while feeding, while doing this, to maintain balance, it beats only its forewings while keeping the hindwings completely steady.
Tawny Coster Butterfly, Acraea terpsicore Linnaeus "Mating"  Acraea terpsicore,Geotagged,Indonesia,Summer,Tawny Coster

Reproduction

Eggs are laid in batches of anywhere between 20 and 100. Eggs are yellow and slightly elongated and tall and display shallow transverse ribbing.The fully grown caterpillar is about 21 mm in length. It is reddish brown on the upperside and a yellowish white on the underside. Each body segment bears a number of branched spines. The head is reddish. The caterpillars of a batch tend to feed gregariously and devour all soft tissue of the host plant. In this manner they can become a major menace to the passion flower plant they are feeding on. Like the adults, the caterpillar is protected by the toxins, processed from the ''Passiflora'' species.

"Cylindrical, slender, with six longitudinal rows of fine branched spines; colour reddish brown with an oily gloss, much paler on the head, second and last segment; an unwholesome looking insect, doubtless protected like the butterfly."

References:

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Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionArthropoda
ClassInsecta
OrderLepidoptera
FamilyNymphalidae
GenusAcraea
SpeciesA. terpsicore