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Butterflies of Malaysia and Borneo
 
White Albatross
Appias paulina
Family - PIERIDAE
subfamily - PIERINAE
Tribe - PIERINI
 
 introduction | habitats | lifecycle | adult behaviour
 

Appias paulina, Taman Negara, West Malaysia
 
Introduction
 
Entomologists disagree about the classification of Appias. Some consider that the South American species drusilla, and the African sylvia and lasti belong in this genus, while others prefer to place them in Glutophrissa. Disregarding those, there are about 23-28 Appias species, comprising 7-8 species from the Australian region, and 16-20 from the Oriental region.
 
Appias paulina is pure white on the upperside wings. Males have dark markings at the apex and wing borders, while females have more extensive dark markings which also extend into the basal area.  The underside hindwings are pale yellow in the male. There are two forms of the female - one has the underside hindwings bright creamy yellow, while in the other form they are white.
 
This species is found from Sri Lanka and India, through Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia, and south through Borneo, Sumatra, Sulawesi and New Guinea to Australia.
 
Habitats
 
This species is probably the commonest Appias species in eastern Malaysia. It is found in open forested areas at elevations between sea level and about 800m. At higher altitudes it is replaced by the very similar Appias albina.
 
Lifecycle
 
I have no data regarding paulina, but the larvae of other Appias species, e.g. lyncida and albina are green, with a pair of anal points. They feed on Capparis.
 
Adult behaviour

 

Males are almost always seen congregating in groups of between 10-50, imbibing moisture from wet sandbanks, either in sunlight or shade. Females are normally only seen when flying in search of egg-laying sites within the forest.

 

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