Series: UWICE Nature Guide Series
By: Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environment (UWICE)(Author)
166 pages, colour & b/w illustrations
Found across the world and with almost 6000 species described, the Nymphalidae family has the highest diversity of butterflies. Groups such as admirals, emperors, fritillaries, browns, sergeants, sailers, and tortoiseshells fall within the Nymphalidae family.
The nymphalids are also known as brush-footed butterflies or four-footed butterflies, for having a shorter pair of forelegs – except for the females within the Beaks group – and quite often use two pairs of legs to perch and crawl on substrates. The forelegs are kept folded under the head.
Unlike other families, nymphalids differ significantly in appearance and gaudiness, at larval, pupal and adult stages. At the larval stage, it blends in with its surrounding through mimicry and physically bear spikes or hairs on it body. At the pupal stage, it shows shiny white spots. Adults vary in size with a colourful dorsal contrasted with a dull ventral surface, which in folded positions helps the butterfly remain cryptic. A noteworthy group of cryptic species is the oakleaf.
Nymphalids also feature fliers and migrants. Nawabs and Rajahs are strong and powerful fliers while Bushbrowns and Rings are weak fliers. Painted Lady and Milkweeds are migrants with the Painted Lady considered to fly at high altitudes and undertake continental migration.
In Bhutan, 186 brush-footed butterflies are recorded. Of this, a few of the are globally rare: Bhutan Treebrown, Blue Oakleaf, Panther, Dukes, Blue Duchess, and Emperors.
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