Butterflies and Moths of Sri Lanka

 

Family Hesperiidae Flats, Darters and Skippers


Hesperidae

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Hesperiidae is one of two families of super family Hesperioidea. Some authors do not consider this family members as butterflies (though they are day flying insects). Certainly Hesperids are not true butterflies. (see more in classyfication). This family has mix characteristics of butterflies and moths therefor possibly connecting link between them. Some entamologists consider this family should be ranked to a seperate supper family.

Featurs of Family Hesperidae

1. Rather small butterflies. Usually known as 'Skippers'. Rather dull coloured.

2. None in Sri Lanka are tailed. All have hooked antennae. Some members cannot be distinguished without studying complete life history and male genitalia.

3. All the six legs are perfect and fit for walking (Picture 01).

4. They skip from flower to flower or swift around, fly fast and come back to the previous resting position again or revisits the flowers time to time (Picture 03).

5. Most of the Hesperidae prefer to fly in the hottest sun shine; others only on the wing at dawn and dusk (some of these group can be seen active in dark forest habitats) and during the day they settle under leaves or among rocks.

6. Positioning of wings when rest as follows,

  • Settle with wings quite flat - Flats and Awls (Picture 02)
  • Wings laid along back one (forewing) on the other (hindwing) , typical moth type - Eg. Gomalia
  • Forewing closed, hindwing open - rest of the majority
  • Wings closed - almost all.

7. Egg Domed, smooth or ribbed, white or red.

  white domed  smooth egg   Domed,  ribbed, red
  Picture 01.a - Domed, smooth, white egg   Picture 01. b - Domed, ribbed, red egg

 

Family Hesperidae in Sri Lanka

There are 49 species in Sri Lanka with two endemic species

Table. Number of Species from each genus

Genus Group
Number of Species
Endemic
Bibasis  Awl/Awlet
2
 
Caprona Angle
2
 
Catloris Swift
2
 
Gangara Red Eye
2
 
Halpe Ace
2
 
Hasora Banded Awl
3
 
Notocrypta Demon
2
 
Pelopidas Swift
2
 
Potanthus Dart
3
 
Suastus Bob
2
 
Tagiades Snow Flat
2
 
Telicota Palm Dart
2
 
Other  
23
2
Total  
49
2

Species Account

>>> Click here

Class: Insecta

Order: Lepidoptera

Sub-order: Ditrysia

Super Family: Hesperoidea

Family: Hesperidae

six legs of Hesperidae

Picture 01. All the six legs are perfect and fit for walking.
 
 
 
Sit Flat
Picture 02. settle with wings quite flat - Flats and Awls
 
 
 
CeylonSnowFlat
Picture 03. Fly fast and skip from flower to flower
 
 
 
           
Indian Skipper Spialia galba 
 
Tailed Jay   DISTRIBUTION
-
All elevations throughout the year. Rare above 1500 m.
     
  SIMILAR SPECIES
-
None
  STATUS
-
Common
  HABITS
-
 
  FEEDING PLANTS
-
Sida rhomibfolia [Kotikan bevila]
       
 
 
 
   
           
Water Snow Flat Tagiades litigiosa ceylonica  
 
Common Banded Peacock   DISTRIBUTION
-
Wet zone up to mid hills
  SIMILAR SPECIES
-
None but in flight quite similar to that of White four-ring (Ypthima ceylanica)
     
  STATUS
-
Uncommon
  HABITS
-
Migratory species
  FEEDING PLANTS
-
Smilax zeylanica [Heen Kabarasa], various plants of Family Dioscoreaceae
     
       
 
 

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