B. Kanagaraj C. Kathirvelu


Apefly, Spalgis epius (Westwood) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) is a small aphytophagous butterfly and their larvae feeds on the insects of Pseudococcidae, Hemiptera. In the present study, development of immature stages and life cycle of this predatory butterfly was observed on mealybugs, Paracoccus marginatus (Williams and Granara de Willink) (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) in cocoa under the laboratory conditions. The morphometry results indicated that the diameter of the egg was 0.52 ± 0.06 mm and the they were collected and kept in the laboratory at 25-30°C and 40-80% Relative Humidity. The eggs were greenish blue in colour and disk shaped, sculptured and both the top and bottom compacted with micropylar despair in the top and hatched in 4.16 ± 0.29 days. It undergoes four larval instars and the total larval period lasts 13.1 ± 0.12 days. The upper surface of the larval body was fully developed with wax coating.  The duration of the pre pupal stage was 3.00 ± 0.17 days. The mold on the hard dorsal side of the pupa resembled on the face of a monkey structure. The prepupal larva shrunk and turned toward dull black colour of the surface of body. The pupal period was recorded as 10.00 ± 0.04 days. The total duration from egg to adult emergence was noticed as 30.30 ± 0.33 days.  In adults, the patch is bigger in females than that in the males. The knowledge of development and life cycle of S. epius on factitious/natural hosts on various crops is advantageous to develop and standardize the mass culturing techniques for exploration of this potential species for predation of mealybugs. 


Download data is not yet available.




Biology, Cocoa, Lycaenidae, Mealybugs, Predator, Spalgis epius

Balduf, W.V. (1939). The Bionomics of Entomophagous Insects. Part II, Swift, St. Louis.
Braby, M.F. (1990). The life history and biology of Paralucia pyrodiscus lucida Crosby (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). Journal of Australian Entomological Society, 29:41-50.
Browning, H.W. 1992. Overview of Biological Control of Homopterous Pests in the Caribbean. The Florida Entomologist, 75: 440–446.
Dinesh, A. S., and Venkatesha, M. G. (2012). Effect of temperature on the life history and demographic parameters of Spalgis epius (Westwood) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae), a candidate biological control agent mealybug (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae). Biocontrol Science and Technology, 22: 1351-1361.
Dinesh, A. S., Venkatesha, M. G. and Ramakarishna, S. (2010). Development, life history characteristic and behavior of mealybug predator, Spalgis epius (Westwood) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) on Planococcus citri (Risso) (Homoptera: Pseudococcidae). Journal of Pest Science, 83, 339-345.
Franco, J.C., Gross, S., Carvalho, C.J., Blumberg, D. and Mendel, Z. 2001. The Citrus Mealybug in Citrus Groves in Israel, Portugal and California: Fruit Injury and Biological Control as Related to Seasonal Activity. Phytoparasitica, 29: 86
Gomez, K.A. and Gomez, A.A. (1984). Statistical procedures for agriculture research (2nd edition). John Wiley and Sons, New York.
Gowda, D. K. S., Manjunath, D., Datta, R. K, and Kumar, P. (1996). Spalgis epius Westwood (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) a potential predator of mulberry mealybug, Maconellicoccus hirsutus. Insect Environment, 2:87-88.
Hall, D.W, Minno, M. and Butler, J.F. (2007). Harvester butterfly, Feniseca tarquinius (Fabricius) (Insecta:Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae: Melitinae). In: University of Florida IFAS extension. Available via http:// creatures.ifas.ufl.edu. Accessed 10th June 2018.
Herms, C.P., Cullough, D. G, Miller, D. L, Bauer, L. S, and Haack, R. A. (1996). Laboratory rearing of Lycaeides melissa samuelis (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae), an endangered butterfly in Michigan. The Great Lakes Entomologist, 29:63-75.
Kehimkar, I. (2008). The Book of Indian Butterflies. Bombay Natural History Society, Newyork.
Mani, M. (1995). Studies on the natural enemies of oriental mealybug, Planococcus lilacinus (CKll.) (Homoptera: Pseudococcidae) in India. Journal of Entomological Research, 19:61-70.
Miller, D.R. and Miller, G.L. (2002). Redescription of Paracoccus marginatus Williams and Granara de Willink (Hemiptera: Coccoidea: Pseudococcidae), including descriptions of the immature stages and adult male. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 104: 1-23.
Minno, M.C., Butler, J. F. and Hall, D. W. (2005). Florida butterfly caterpillar and their host plants. University Press of Florida. Gainesville, Florida. 341p.
Perice, N.E., Braby, M., Heath, A., Lohman, D, J., Mathew, J., Rand, D, B. and Travassos, M.A.(2002). The ecology and evolution of ant association in the Lycaenidae(Lepidoptera). Annual Review of Entomology, 47: 733-771.
Rahiman, A.P., Vijayalakshmi, C.K. (1998). Spalgius epius Westwood (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) A potential predator of coffee mealy bugs. Journal of Entomological Research, 22:191-192.
Singh, A. P. (2011). Butterflies of India. Om books International, Uttar Pradesh.
Thangamalar, A., Subramanian, S. and Mahalingam, C.A. (2010). Bionomics of papaya mealybug, Paracoccus marginatus and its predator Spalgis epius in mulberry ecosystem. Karnataka Journal of Agricultural Science, 23:39-41.
Venkatesha, M.G, Shashikumar L. and Gayathri Devi, S.S. (2004). Protective devices of the Carnivorous butterfly, Spalgis epius (Westwood) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). Current Science, 87:571-572.
Vinod Kumar, P.K., Vasudev, V., Seetharama, H.G, Irulandi, S. and Sreedharan, K. (2006). Biology and biometery of the Lycaenid predator, Spalgis epius. Journal of Coffee Research, 34 (1&2):72-104.
Walker, A., Hoy, M. and Meyerdirk, D.E. 2006. Papaya mealybug, Paracoccus marginatus Williams and Granara de Willink (Insecta: Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae). Featured Creatures. Entomology and Nematology Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
Citation Format
How to Cite
Kanagaraj, B., & Kathirvelu, C. (2018). The Bionomics of predatory butterfly, apefly (Spalgis epius) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) on mealybug, Paracoccus marginatus (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) in cocoa. Journal of Applied and Natural Science, 10(4), 1243-1247. https://doi.org/10.31018/jans.v10i4.1813
More Citation Formats:
Research Articles