Biology of an Exotic Butterfly Acraea terpsicore (Linnaeus, 1758) (Nymphalidae: Heliconiinae), in a Newly Invaded Region, Sarawak, Borneo
Sabina Noor1*, Fatimah Abang1 and Hamady Dieng2
This study was intended to compare the immature stages of Acraea terpsicore (Linnaeus 1758) (tawny coster) relative to habitat types, phenotype, and gender in Sarawak, Borneo. The nymphalid butterfly tawny coster is widely distributed throughout the Indian and Sri Lankan region and has expanded its distribution range southward through Southeast Asia and Australia. Currently establishing its population in Kalimantan, it was firstly detected in Sarawak in 2013. Comparative observations on the life-cycle were conducted in relation to the urbanization levels. Passiflora foetida was recorded as the primary host plant of this species. Fecundity in a single cohort varied from 30 to 85 eggs, whereas eggs were oriented on the underside marginal areas of host plant leaves. The developmental time of A. terpsicore to complete its life cycle took an average of 30 ± 3.01 days with a total of five larval instars. The ontogenesis of larvae was accomplished without any disruption of diapause. The female adults were ochreous orange in color with a wingspan of about 50-60 mm. The males were brighter orange in color and had a wingspan of about 40-50 mm. The population index was found to be common throughout the year but declined during months with higher precipitation. Being an exotic species, A. terpsicore is likely to keep track by feeding on its primary and famous P. foetida voraciously, in this newly invaded region. For future perspectives, a frequent investigation is suggested to countercheck the host plant dis-palatability and its role of becoming an invasive pest.