Common Batwing Atrophaneura varuna is a beautiful butterfly found in India that belongs to the Swallowtail family belongs to the Batwings group of Atrophaneura, comprising tailless black swallowtail butterflies.
The butterfly is not rare across most of its range. Extinct in Singapore.
- Wingspan - 88 to 136mm.
- Male : Tailless. Above, the butterfly is bluish-black and unmarked.
- It has a scent patch in a rounded black-brown dorsal fold. When the fold is opened, the white lower half of the scent patch can be seen.
- The abdomen has white stripes. The head of the butterfly is rose-coloured.
- Female : Tailless. Above, the butterfly is grey-brown. It has dark stripes in between the veins. It has a large pale patch below vein 2 on the upper forewing.
Male upperside rich velvety blue-black. Fore wing: outwardly towards the terminal margin and the whole of the hind wing except the dorsal area have in certain lights a rich dark purple bloom, in others a very dark green; dorsal area and the whole inner side of the sexual fold opaque brownish black; outer half of fore wing with pale adnervular streaks more or less prominent. Underside similar; fore wing with the adnervular pale streaks broader, more prominent, extended further inwards well up to the terminal margin. Hind wing: ground-colour more uniform blue-black than on the upperside. Antennae, head, thorax and abdomen black; the head in front, on the sides and beneath, the sides of the thorax and of the abdomen rich crimson ; beneath, the thorax and abdomen black, the latter with lateral black spots in addition on its crimson sides.
Female. Upperside dull black. Fore wing with the pale greyish-green streaks very broad and prominent, especially in interspaces 1 and 2, the streaks extend also into the cell. Hind wing more uniform, with a dark dull blue, in some lights dark green, bloom. Underside similar, the streaks on the fore wing broader and paler; hind wing as on the upperside, more uniform, duller, opaque. Antennae and thorax black, abdomen dull brownish black, head crimson; beneath as in the male, but the crimson less bright, especially on the sides of the abdomen and without the lateral spots on the latter.
In Sikkim, according to Elwes and de Niceville, it occurs from quite low elevations in the Terai up to 7000 feet. Its almost uniform dark colour renders it inconspicuous in the jungle, and it is therefore difficult to account for its being further protected by a disagreeable smell and probably taste. Wood-Mason has recorded that the females have a strong and disgustingly rank musky odour.
- Two subspecies.
- A. varuna astorion (Westwood) 1842 is found from Kumaon to Tavoy.
- A. varuna varuna (White) is found from Mergui to southern Myanmar and is rare.
The Common Batwing occurs from the Terai up to the altitude of 7000 feet.
The Common Batwing is a butterfly of hot, low altitude jungles. It has a slow and graceful flight and can be seen cruising along river valleys and high over stream-beds. Both sexes frequent flowers, Lantana being a preferred species. It has a disagreeable smell.
- White, A. (1842): Notice of two New Species of Papilio from Penang, presented to the British Museum by Sir Wm. Norris. The Entomologist 1 (17), pp. 280.
- Bingham, C. T. 1907. Fauna of British India. Butterflies. Volume 2
- Collins, N.M. & Morris, M.G. (1985) Threatened Swallowtail Butterflies of the World. IUCN. ISBN 2-88032-603-6
- Evans, W.H. (1932) The Identification of Indian Butterflies. (2nd Ed), Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, India
- Haribal, Meena (1994) Butterflies of Sikkim Himalaya and their Natural History.
- Wynter-Blyth, M.A. (1957) Butterflies of the Indian Region, Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, India.