Thursday, 9 February 2017

252. Euploea mulciber mulciber (The Striped Blue Crow)

Number: 252
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Danaiinae
Species: Euploea mulciber mulciber (Cramer, [1777])
Common name(s): The Striped Blue Crow
Photography locations: Ba Vi foothills (Hanoi), Tam Dao (Vinh Puc Prov.)

According to Monastyrskii & Devyatkin (2016), 17 Euploea species are currently known in Vietnam viz. modesta, crameri, camaralzeman*, core*, orontobates, algae, swainson, doubledayi, eyndhovii, sylvester*, mulciber*, tulliolus*, phaenareta, midamus*, klugii*, eunice* & radamanthus*, of which 9 have been recorded in the North (*). The species of Euploea can be very difficult to ID based on the underside alone.

The sexually dimorphic Striped Blue Crow is one of the most common Euploea species in my habitual butt hunting grounds. Though not abundant, the adults have been observed in many locations, from pristine forest at Cuc Phuong N.P. to wastelands and urban parks. It is polyphagous and has many larval host plants in the Moraceae, Apocynaceae and Asclepiadaceae families, which explains its broad habitat tolerance (eurytopic species).

Euploea mulciber male resting on a leaf (Tam Dao, May 2016)
UpF dark brown strongly suffused with iridescent blue and with numerous white spots, UpH without submarginal white spots and with a small grey patch in cell (hidden by HW here)

The male can be distinguished from other blue Euploea species by the absence ot the sex brand on the UpF.

Euploea mulciber male nectaring (Ba Vi, December 2016)

The female is easily distinguished from other Euploea species by the numerous long streaks on HW
She appears to be the model for some mimetic Satyrines, notably Penthema darlisa and Elymnias malelas. Among the probable mimics of the males are certain Papilionids (e.g. Chilasa slateri and Ch. paradoxa) and Satyrines (e.g. Elymnias patna, E. malelas and E. casiphone(Monastyrskii, 2011).

Female sipping nectar from Chromolaena odorata flowers (Ba Vi, December 2016)
The striped HW of the female is probably what gave this species its common English name

Female, upperside, voucher specimen

Nice congregation of Euploea species puddling on a wall (mulciber and tulliolus at least + Tirumala septentrionis)

Close-up on a male E. mulciber

A 5th instar E. mulciber caterpillar
Detailed life history information is available from the following resource: ButterflyCircle Blog (courtesy of Dr. Horace Tan)

Butterflies of Vietnam, Vol. 3: Nymphalidae: Danainae, Amathusiinae (A.L. Monastyrskii, 2011)

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