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Common Name : Tawny Coster     -       Scientific Name : Acraea violae       -       Other Name : Viyola (S)
Panikkar Villu uda para
01/15/2015
Panikkar Villu uda para
01/15/2015
Panikkar Villu uda para
01/15/2015
Panikkar Villu uda para
01/15/2015

This is a butterfly, which belongs to the Acraeidae family. This is the only species of this essentially African family in the country. Other than in Sri Lanka it is also found from India east to Myanmar.

The conservation status of this species is regarded as “Least Concerned” (National Red List 2012).

This is a species protected under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance as amended by Act No. 22 of 2009.

I have seen this species through out the country. It is found in my home garden in Colombo and through out the wet zone areas. It is a very common species in the dry lowlands and is common in all the dry zone national parks. I have also seen it at Nuwaraeliya at an altitude of 1820 meters. In the north I have seen them in the Jaffna Peninsula, Mannar Island, Delft Island and Analathivu Island off the coast of Jaffna.

Birds and lizards do not predate on this butterfly as it has the ability to produce a noxious liquid from the joints of its legs. Upon being attacked by a bird or a lizard it would mimic death and produce this liquid that the predator finds quite repulsive. I once watched one of these butterflies being attacked by a Common Garden Lizard Calotes versicolor at Tala Wila. The Butterfly was perched on a bush. The lizard approached the stationery butterfly and caught it in one swift movement. After one bite the lizard dropped the butterfly to the ground and it was motionless. The lizard was shaking its head and was licking its moth with its tongue. In less than a minute the butterfly flew off as if nothing had happened. 

The host plants include the Spade Flower Hybanthus enneaspermus, which is commonly found in Wilpattu, Bush Passion fruit Passiflora foetida (Pada Wel (S)) and Corky stem Passion Flower Passiflora suberosa.

This is a very common butterfly that can be seen through out the open areas at Wilpattu.