Eurema hecabe (Linnaeus, 1758), or the Common Grass Yellow, is a Pierid butterfly species widely distributed in Africa, Asia, Australia, and the South Pacific islands. Perhaps these butterflies do not get much attention because of their prevalence, but they are significant members of their ecosystems.
I see these butterflies quite a lot, flitting about at the grassy edge of forests and in other disturbed habitats. They usually stay fairly low. I’ve observed them at dusk when they find a place to roost on the underside of leaves and then remain there the entire night.
While in Malaysia in June 2014, I spent some time following these butterflies, and had the privilege of watching one female as it oviposited on a tender leaflet of the Peacock Flower tree (Caesalpinia pulcherrima). It was so intent on its business that it didn’t mind me inching closer to it to take a few pictures.
The eggs of this species are spindle-shaped, and lines of shallow dots or bumps are visible upon close inspection. I would have loved to watch the eggs hatch and photograph the various instars of the caterpillars, but my holiday just wasn’t long enough.
The life history of this beautiful species has been well-documented, and detailed information and pictures can be found on this most excellent blog: butterflycircle.blogspot.com.
- Corbet, A. S., Pendlebury, H. M., D’Abrera, B., & Eliot, J. N. (. N. (1992). The butterflies of the malay peninsula (4th ed.). Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Malayan Nature Society.
- Tan, H. (2013, January 5). Life History of the Common Grass Yellow [Web log post]. Retrieved July 7, 2010, from butterflycircle.blogspot.com.
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One thought on “Eurema hecabe: the Common Grass Yellow”
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