LIfe cycle of the Common Redeye butterfly

on 10th August 2016

“The Common Redeye (Matapa aria) is a moderately rare butterfly, first observed in Singapore in 1998. It is a small butterfly (about 20mm wingspan) with a dull brown upper wings and ochreous buff lower wings and a distinctive pair of red eyes. The adult is crepuscular.

1 CommonRedeye 20160723 (1)

“The above image shows the Common Redeye with its distinctive red eye.

2 CommonRedeye Shelter (1)

“An adult was first spotted at the Garden on 18th June 2016. On 26th June, six leaf-shelters were found and collected from a clump of Bambusa multiplex at the Garden. Two shelters were found to be empty and the other four had 1st and 2nd instar caterpillars less than 10mm. The above image shows the leaf shelter at tip of leaflet.

3 CommonRedeye 20160626 1st (1)

“The 1st instar caterpillar was seen on 26th June (above) and the late 3rd instar on 3rd July (below).

4 CommonRedeye 3rd (1)

“The caterpillar lives and feeds inside its rolled up leaf shelter, constructed at the tip of a leaflet. The caterpillars were very fragile and were left alone inside their leaf-shelters. After moulting, they moved out to construct another shelter.


“The late 4th instar was detected on 8th July (above).


“On 16th July, we spotted the caterpillar moving to construct a shelter to pupate.


“On 21st July we opened the shelter to reveal the pupa (above). We did this because the leaf shelter had dried and harden and our previous experiences with other species taught us that this will injure the imago during eclosion.

8 CommonRedeye Pupa 20160723 (1)

“On 23rd July the eyes of the pupa turned red and on 25th July at 13:00 hours, the fully formed wings could be seen (above).

9. CommonRedeye 20160725 Ripe (1)

“The fully formed imago became visible on 25th July (above).

“About two hours later, the adult male Common Redeye was recorded emerging (video above).

10 CommonRedeye 20160725 (1)

“The newly eclosed adult is shown above
11 CommonRedeye Male (1)

“The male Commn Redeye (above) shows the bands on the forewings.”

Foo Jit Leang & Janice Ang
Seletar Country Club’s Butterfly Garden
29th Junly2016

Note: All images and video by Janice Ang.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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