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Tawny Coster or Acraea violae

Kerala is home to 330 varieties of butterflies of which 37 are native to the region. Tawny Coster (Acraea violae) is common throughout the state in areas of heavy rainfall.

The adult males have brisk red wings on the apex of which there are prominent black spots and streaks. The hind wings have a marginal black border and a row of pale yellow spots. Females are pale coloured with broad markings and marginal bands. The wingspan of both is 50- 65mm.

Tawny Coster is a slow flier, fluttering close to the ground. It can be seen basking in the sun during the early morning hours. When attacked, it exudes a yellow, bad smelling, oily liquid. Flowers of Land-Caltrops, Lantana, Chinese Chaste and Monk’s Pepper are visited by them frequently.