Euchrysops cnejus. (45)
Gram Blue in the Shadow.
Euchrysops cnejus (Fabricius, 1798)
Wingspan 25 – 30 mm.
Small and unconspicuous - at least from the distance - this little Indian beauty is overlooked quite often, in particular when in company with flashy beauties like the Wanderers presented before.
But two black and orange eye spots and a pair of string-like tails do make this little blue conspicuous – at least when you get close enough to notice. Most probably this feature serves as “false head mimicry” diverting attacks from predators away from the head towards the rear parts of wings, allowing the victim a quick escape into the unexpected direction. This feature is widespread in the family of Lycaenids, and it can also be well observed with many swallowtail butterflies.
The male of the Gram Blue shows light purple colours on its upperside of wings, the female is black-dusted with the wing bases pale shining blue.
Distribution: Throughout India except at very high elevations. Widely distributed in the Malayan Subregion; extending to Australia and the South Sea Islands. Common in localised areas where its food plant can be found.
"The host plant is a creeper-like "pea plant" with three leaves on a node. The plant has yellow flowers and pea-like processes on which the female is often observed laying her eggs."
As there are 318 species of Lycaenids in India, the ID given here may not be exactly the correct one. Could be that I have presented here a closely related cousin of E. cnejus. A confirmation or correction from a specialist on Indian lepidoptera would always be welcome.
EVANS, W. H. (1932) The Identification of Indian Butterflies. (2nd Ed), Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, India
GAY, T., KEHIMKAR, I. & J. C. PUNETHA (1992) Common Butterflies of India. WWF-India and Oxford University Press, Mumbai, India.
KUNTE, K. (2005) Butterflies of Peninsular India. Universities Press.
WYNTER-BLYTH, M. A. (1957) Butterflies of the Indian Region, Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, India.
SONY DSC-H5, 3072 x 2304 pixel, sRGB, 16mm, F/4, 1/500 sec., ISO-125; no tripod, no flash; 03.11.2006, 13:25 local time.
Photoshop Elements, cropped at the sides, downsized to the web, selectively sharpened, noise removal on BG, brightness, contrast and saturation slightly adjusted.
The hills of Goregaon north of Mumbai. Same place, same friendly and helpful company as already shown here before. For a brief look at the setting, please klick
Thank you for looking.
Have a very good day.