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Common Name : Ceylon Silverline     -       Scientific Name : Spindasis ictis       -       Other Name : Hela Raja-thariya (S)
Nelum Wila

Even though the name of this species begins with Ceylon it is not an endemic species and is found in India as well. However the sub species S. i. Ceylanica is endemic to the island. The conservation status of this species is regarded as Least Concerned (National Red List 2012) and it is protected under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance as amended by Act No. 22 of 2009.

There are seven species that belong to the Genus Spindasis and all are extremely fast flying butterflies. This species is found in the dry and arid zone of the north as well as the south of the country. I found it to be very common at Oorumalei fishing village in Thalei Mannar.

One of the host plants on which the female lays its eggs is the thorny shrub Kukul Katu Acasia eburnean. The larva of this species grows in the safety of a cavity inside the thorns of its host plant. I have observed a species of ant entering a hole made at the broadest part of these thorns where the larva is found. I’m not able to confirm whether the larva uses the ants nest for protection and in turn the ants are fed by a sweet substance produced by the larva as with some species or whether the ants, upon finding the larva, tends to it to receive the sweet liquid. Some authors have suggested that there is also a possibility for the larva to feed on the larva of the ants. This species is also known to use Ranawara Senna auriculata as a host plant as well.

In Wilpattu I have seen this species at Eluwankulama, Ochchappu Kallu and Nelum Wila. This butterfly will generally tolerate a fair amount of disturbance as oppose to most other species when feeding on flowers thus, if spotted, can be easily approached and photographed.