Black Tipped Archduke feeding on rotting starfruit

Jeremiah Loei’s video clip shows the female Black Tipped Archduke (Lexias dirtea merguia) feeding on the rotting juice of the Starfruit (Averrhoa carambola). This butterfly is a forest species, seldom moving outside. A strong flyer, it often comes down to the forest floor to feed on rotten fruits and other rotting organic matter. The video was documented at Singapore’s Venus Drive.

The screen grab image above shows a female Black Tipped Archduke moving up the rotting fruit. That below shows the same female with her proboscis unfurled taking up the juice of the rotting fruit.

According to Khew Sin Khoon of Butterfly Circle, this Black Tipped Archduke may often be found feeding with its other two conspecific, the Archduke (L. pardalis dirteana) and the Yellow Archduke (L. canescens pardalina) on rotting fruits in the forest floor LINK. And under normal conditions, the Archdukes are skittish and fast-flying, usually gliding rapidly no more than a metre above the forest floor.

Sin Khoon further added: “Butterflies feeding on fermenting fruit on the forest floor is a common phenomenon. Fruits range from figs, jambu, starfruit, guava, chiku and many others that fall naturally on the forest floor or in plantations often have certain species of butterflies visiting them. I presume that the butterflies are after the fructose or sugars in the fermenting fruits.”

Seel also HERE for feeding behaviour of butterflies.

Jeremiah Loei & Khew Sin Khoon
May 2014

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