Sunday, November 8, 2015

Partial life history of the White Royal (Pratapa deva relata)

The White Royal, Pratapa deva relata (Distant) belongs to the Lycaeninae subfamily and family Lycaenidae. The species is found from  Sri Lanka, India, east to Myanmar, Thailand, Yunnan, Guangdong, Fujian, Philippines, Peninsular Malaysia, Java and Borneo (Corbet & Pendlebury, 1992; M. J. Bascombe, G. Johnston & G. S. Bascombe, 1999). Sub-species P. deva devula is known from Hong Kong and Fuzhou.

The White Royal, Pratapa deva relata is rare in Singapore, it's the sole representative of the genus Pratapa (Moore). The butterfly were photographed (re-discovered) in year 2008 by Richard Ong at Telok Blangah Hill Park. The species were subsequently introduced to a location at Upper Selatar Reservoir where the host plants are abundant with success.

The male of the species has brand (black spot) on the upperside hindwing with black hairs arising from the forewing dorsum area. Both gender has a broad dark border and black tornal lobe crowned with orange on upperside hindwing. On underside of hindwing, there is a black tornal lobe and a black spot at the tornal area, both crowned with orange.

The White Royal, Pratapa deva relata (female), resting on a leaf

Host plant description:
In India, recorded host plant is Loranthus tomentosa
In Hong Kong, recorded host plant is Scurrula parasitica
In Malaysia and Singapore, recorded host plant is Scurrula ferruginea (Rusty-leaf Misletoe)

All the host plants species are parasitic plant commonly known as Mistletoes (Loranthaceae). Further reading: Mistletoes of Singapore.

Host plant: Scurrula ferruginea
Aa 3rd instar caterpillar found on the leaf above

Host plant: Scurrula ferruginea

Early Stage Description:
Two larvae were collected at Negeri Sembilan on Scurrula ferruginea, at a village next to forest reserve. They are successfully rearing to metamorphosis, accompanied by photographic records as following:

3rd and 4th instar larvae

4th instar lavae

4th instar larvae

4th instar larva (side view)

4th instar larva (posterior view)

Frass produced by 2 lavae for 15 hours

Larva in pre-pupa position

Larva in pre pupa position

Pupa of the White Royal on the host plant in natural habitat

Close-up view of the pupa

Pupa of the White Royal (side view)

Pupa of the White Royal (back view)
Both butterflies successfully emerged from pupal case after 7 days
Mature White Royal pupa of female (left) and male (right)

Time-lapse video of White Royal emerging form pupa

The White Royal (male)

The White Royal (upperside)

Typical back view of butterfly from Lycanidae family, mimic another
head view from the rear

  • Corbet, A. S. & H. M. Pendlebury, 1992. The Butterflies of the Malay Peninsula. 4th Edition (Revised by J. N. Eliot).
  • M. J. Bascombe, G. Johnston & F. S. Bascombe, 1999. The Butterflies of Hong Kong.

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