Orange-tailed Awl
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Orange-tailed Awl

Orange-tail awl
Bibasis sena 2 by V K Chandrasekharan.jpg
Dorsal view
Orange tail awl 1 PTR IMG 0713.jpg
Ventral view
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Hesperiidae
Genus: Bibasis
B. sena
Binomial name
Bibasis sena
(Moore, 1865)[1]

Bibasis sena, commonly known as the orange-tailed awlet,[2] is a butterfly belonging to the family Hesperiidae, the skippers.[3][4] It is also sometimes called the pale green awlet though that name can also refer to Bibasis gomata.


This skipper is found in Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, south Vietnam, Hainan, Malay peninsula, Indonesian archipelago (including Borneo, Java, Kangean, Bali, Lombok, Bawean, Sumba, Sumbawa) and the Philippines.[3]

In India, this skipper is found in the Western Ghats including the Nilgiris, Kodagu, Kanara, and the Himalayas, from Shimla eastward to Northeast India and onto Myanmar (recorded in the Karens and Dawnas). Also found in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.[2][5][6]

The type locality for this species is the region of Bengal.[3]


William Harry Evans (1932) records the orange-tail awl as rare in India and very rare in the Andaman islands. He records the butterfly as not rare in south Myanmar, the Malay Peninsula and parts of the Indonesian archipelago.[6]


Both sexes: The butterfly has a wingspan of 45 to 50 mm.[6] Above, both sexes are an unblemished dark brown. The hindwings have an orange fringe. The abdomen is orange towards the rear. Below, the wings have white patches; the forewings having a large white central patch, and the hindwings having a broad pure white discal band.[5]

The male has no brands.[5]

Detailed description

Edward Yerbury Watson (1891) gives a detailed description as follows:[7]

Male. Upperside dark chocolate brown. Cilia of hindwing carmine-red. Underside maroon brown; forewing with a large buff-white patch from the middle of posterior margin, bordered above with purple; hindwing with a broad transverse purple white band terminating before the anal angle, the inner border of which is sharply defined, the outer suffusing itself on the disk. Cilia carmine-red. Palpi and thorax in front, beneath and anal tuft dull yellow. Thorax beneath greyish brown.

The female is described by Mr. Moore in his "Lepidoptera of Ceylon" as not differing from the male.


The skipper has the following subspecies:

  • B. sena sena (Moore, 1865) - Type locality: Bengal. Distribution: Sri Lanka, S.India - Burma, Thailand, Laos, Hainan, Andamans.[3]
  • B. sena uniformis Elwes & Edwards 1897 - Type locality: Java. Distribution: Burma, Thailand, Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Java, Kangean, Bali, Lombok, Bawean, Sumba, Sumbawa.[3]
  • B. sena palawan (Staudinger, 1889) - Type locality: Palawan. Distribution: Calamian Islands, Cebu, Homonhon, Leyte, Luzon, Marinduque, Mindanao, Negros, Palawan, Panay, Polillo, Sibutu, Sibuyan, Tawitawi.


Larva and pupa

This butterfly is diurnal.[8] It is confined to heavy jungle of low elevations, typically up to 4,000 to 5,000 feet (1,200 to 1,500 m). The male can be seen in the early mornings, basking on the top of leaves in forest glades and hilltops, chasing off intruders. The typical resting position of the orange-tail awl is the underside of the leaf. He does not mud-puddle or visit flowers. The female is usually found close to the host plants.[5]

Life history

The larva has been recorded on Combretum latifolium[3] and Combretum extensum in Kanara.[5] In the Andamans the larvae has been recorded on Hiptage benghalensis (Malpighiaceae).[9][10]

Cited references

  1. ^ Beccaloni, G.; Scoble, M.; Kitching, I.; Simonsen, T.; Robinson, G.; Pitkin, B.; Hine, A.; Lyal, C., eds. (2003). "Bibasis sena". The Global Lepidoptera Names Index. Natural History Museum. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
  2. ^ a b R.K., Varshney; Smetacek, Peter (2015). A Synoptic Catalogue of the Butterflies of India. New Delhi: Butterfly Research Centre, Bhimtal & Indinov Publishing, New Delhi. p. 23. doi:10.13140/RG.2.1.3966.2164. ISBN 978-81-929826-4-9.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Markku Savela's website on Lepidoptera Page on genus Bibasis.
  4. ^ One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a work now in the public domain: Swinhoe, Charles (1911-1912). Lepidoptera Indica. Vol. IX. London: Lovell Reeve and Co. pp. 244-245.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  5. ^ a b c d e Wynter-Blyth, Mark Alexander (1957). Butterflies of the Indian Region. Bombay, India: Bombay Natural History Society. pp. 469-479. ISBN 978-8170192329.
  6. ^ a b c Evans, W.H. (1932). The Identification of Indian Butterflies (2nd ed.). Mumbai, India: Bombay Natural History Society. pp. 319-320, ser no I3.1.
  7. ^ One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a work now in the public domain: E. Y., Watson (1891). Hesperiidae Indicae : being a reprint of descriptions of the Hesperiidae of India, Burma, and Ceylon. Madras: Vest and Company. p. 15.
  8. ^ Vane-Wright and de Jong (2003) (see TOL web pages on genus Bibasis genus Burara in the Tree of Life Web Project) state that Bibasis contains just three diurnal species, of which sena remains in Bibasis due to its diurnal activity, while the crepuscular remainder having been removed to Burara. The species now shifted to Burara are morphologically and behaviorally distinct from Bibasis, within which many authors have formerly included them.
  9. ^ Caterpillar Host plant database
  10. ^ Ravikanthachari Nitin; V.C. Balakrishnan; Paresh V. Churi; S. Kalesh; Satya Prakash; Krushnamegh Kunte (2018-04-10). "Larval host plants of the buterfies of the Western Ghats, India". Journal of Threatened Taxa. 10 (4): 11495-11550. doi:10.11609/jott.3104.10.4.11495-11550 – via JoTT.




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