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Sexual dimorphism in Common Archduke, Lexias pardalis

on 23rd January 2024

The forest butterfly Common Archduke, Lexias pardalis, is a large (wing span 70-90 mm) fast-flying butterfly frequently encountered in forested areas of Singapore. Soh Kam Yung stumbled upon a pair feeding on fallen fruits which were fermenting on the forest floor. He obtained a beautiful image that contrasted the morphological appearances of the dorsal surfaces of male and female. There is marked sexual dimorphism. The uninitiated observer would inevitably conclude that they are two different species.

Image 1: Female on the left, and the male on the right. Both are feeding on a crushed fruit on the forest floor at Upper Seletar Reservoir Park. 21 Jan 2024. The contrasting colours are believed to play a significant role in reproduction.
Image 2: Female Common Archduke. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/197209220 Note the orange-tipped antennal club.
Image 3: Male Common Archduke. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/197209222 The male also features the orange-tipped antennal club. This feature distinguishes the Common Archduke from the rare Black-Tipped Archduke which are almost identical in colour patterns but with black-tipped antennal club. The two species occupy the same niche in the forests.

The Common Archduke is one of the Archduke species farmed for sale to butterfly collectors.

References:

  1. A field guide to the Butterflies of Singapore by Khew Sin Khoon copyright 2010
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archduke_(butterfly)
  3. Archduke butterfly caterpillar. https://youtube.com/shorts/hBKT22QwibY?si=Td9tHj5LPlnW2X1M

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.

LW Teo

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