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Lepidoptera > Papilionoidea > Nymphalidae > Limenitidinae > Neptini > Neptis

Neptis melba Evans, 1912 – Versicoloured Sailer

Subspecies in India:

(1) Neptis melba melba Evans, 1912 – Himalayan Versicoloured Sailer
(2) Neptis melba gafuri Tytler, 1940 – Lushai Versicoloured Sailer
This is also known as the Variegated Sailer, a name applied to Neptis antilope Leech, 1890, under which Evans (1932) had listed Neptis melba as a subspecies. Eliot (1969) later listed melba and gafuri as subspecies under Neptis armandia (Oberthür, 1876), which also differs considerably from melba and gafuri. Neither Evans nor Eliot presented any rationale or evidence for treating melba and gafuri as subspecies under other species. The provisional arrangement used here is also based purely on superficial morphological grounds. This taxonomic matter needs to be carefully assessed with evidence from molecular phylogenies and genitalia dissections of this entire species group before reliable taxonomic arrangements may be made.

Early Stages:
Not known.
Indian and global distribution:
The subspecies melba is traditionally known from C. & E. Himalaya, specifically from C. Nepal to Sikkim, and the subspecies gafuri occurs in NE India (Naga Hills) (Eliot 1969; Smith 2006). The record from Kedarnath WLS from 22 May 2014 (BOI-bu892 and BOI-bu893), reported here by Milind Bhakare on 29 August 2015, extends the range of this species to the western Himalaya. Krushnamegh Kunte has recorded several individuals of melba melba from the Eaglenest WLS in June 2015, which are the first records of this species from Arunachal Pradesh.

records (based on images):
Larval Host Plants:
Not known.

Sexual, seasonal & individual variation:
Status, Habitat and Habits:
Overall very rare, but locally not uncommon during the rainy season.

Eliot, J. N. 1969. An analysis of the Eurasian and Australian Neptini (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Bull. Br. Museum, Nat. Hist. Suppl., 15:3-155.

Evans, W. H. 1932. The Identification of Indian Butterflies. 2nd edn. Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai.

Smith, C. 2006. Illustrated Checklist of Nepal’s Butterflies. 2nd, revised edn. Walden Book House, Kathmandu.

Lepidoptera > Papilionoidea > Nymphalidae > Limenitidinae > Neptini > Neptis

Cite this page along with its URL as:
Bhakare, M., and K. Kunte. 2021. Neptis melba Evans, 1912 – Versicoloured Sailer. Kunte, K., S. Sondhi, and P. Roy (Chief Editors). Butterflies of India, v. 3.24. Indian Foundation for Butterflies.
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