Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 May 2017 | 9(5): 10240–10241





A first report of the Broad-Tail Royal Creon cleobis Godart, 1824 (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) and its host plant from Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve of the southern Western Ghats, India


Raveendran Lekshmi


Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Pondicherry University, Kalapet, Puducherry 605014, India




doi: | ZooBank:


Editor: George Mathew, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi, India. Date of publication: 26 May 2017 (online & print)


Manuscript details: Ms # 3231 | Received 31 January 2017 | Final received 15 April 2017 | Finally accepted 22 April 2017


Citation: Lekshmi, R. (2017). A first record of the Broad-tail Royal Creon cleobis Godart, 1824 (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) and its host plant from Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve of the southern Western Ghats, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 9(5): 10240–10241;


Copyright: © Lekshmi 2017. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.


Funding: The finding is part of PhD fieldwork funded by Pondicherry University.


Competing interests: The author declares no competing interests.


Acknowledgements: I thank Dr. A.E. Shanavaskhan of Natural Resources and Environment Research Institute, Saudi Arabia and Dr. E.S. Santosh Kumar of Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute, Kerala for identification of the host plant.





The Broad-tail Royal Creon cleobis Godart, 1824 is an elusive butterfly of the family Lycaenidae occurring in the Indo-Malayan region across India, Indo-China and Southeast Asia. This species was originally described as Polyommatus cleobis by Godart (1824) and was subsquently renamed as Iolaus cleobis (Hewitson 1862), Camena cleobis (de Nicéville 1890), Creon cleobis (de Nicéville 1896) and Pratapa cleobis (Evans 1927). Although de Nicéville (1890) has reported the range of this taxon to be very imperfectly known, Evans (1927) has reported it from the Himalaya, northeastern India, West Bengal and the Western Ghats. Of the three subspecies recognized under this species (Khramov 2016) so far, only the nominal subspecies Creon cleobis cleobis has been reported from India (Baiju 2016).

Broad-tail Royal (BTR) is very rare in the Western Ghats (Kehimkar 2008) and there are only a few records. During the British explorations, this species was recorded only at comparatively higher elevations of the Nilgiris (Hewitson 1862; de Nicéville 1890) and the Palni Hills (Evans 1910) of the Western Ghats. Ugarte & Rodricks (1960) reported it again from the Palni Hills. In this context, it may be noted that Nilgiris and Palni Hills are separated from each other by the 30km wide Palghat gap, which is a major geographic barrier in the Western Ghats. Recently, the butterfly has been reported from the north of the Nilgiris at Goa (Bhambure 2014) and North Canara (Netra Bhat in Baiju 2016); and from the south of the Palnis at Periyar Tiger Reserve of Kerala in the western Cardamom Hills (Baiju 2016). The latter sighting made in October 2014 is the first record of BTR from Kerala State. It is not reported from areas further south, from the Agasthyamalai Biosphere Reserve (ABR). On 2 November 2014, adult BTR and its different life stages (egg, final instar and pupa) were sighted between 1,000-1,350m eleveation at Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary located in ABR.

The vegetation of the area is southern hill top tropical evergreen forest (Varghese & Balasubramanyan 1999). Two BTR were seen basking on the tip of leaves at the canopy level and chasing each other in a territorial display at the steep streamside above 1,000m. A freshly emerged adult was photographed on 16 November 2014 at 1,350m (Image1). The host plant of the butterfly was identified as Helixanthera intermedia (Wight) Danser, a rare parasitic plant belonging to Loranthaceae, endemic to southern Western Ghats (Sasidharan 2011). Eggs were found at the base of the branches or at stem nodes of the plant; and life stages were present in a few of the plants searched. In the study area, H. intermedia was found to be locally common between 1,200–1,400m; only one plant belonging to Helixanthera sp. was encountered at a lower elevation even after an intensive search, at 400m. Flowering was observed in May–June, but the presence of life stages of the butterfly was found to be few compared to November. Out of seven plants searched during the period, only one had any butterfly life stages - an egg at the base of a flower. BTR seems to have a peak flight season in the Western Ghats between September and November; almost all the sightings reported from the Western Ghats also belong to this period. The present record becomes second for Kerala and first for ABR, which is significant and has a future scope of study since ABR is located on southernmost tip of the Western Ghats and the site of discovery is further separated by Shencottah Gap, a minor geographic barrier in the Southern Western Ghats.








Baiju, K. (2016). Creon cleobis Godart, 1824 - Broad-tail Royal. In: Kunte, K., P. Roy, S. Kalesh & U. Kodandaramaiah (eds.) Butterflies of India v. 2.24. Indian Foundation for Butterflies.
Electronic version accessed on 21 September 2016

Bhambure, R. (2014). Broadtail Royal - Creon cleobis Godart, 1823. Electronic version accessed on 21 September 2016.

de Nicéville, L. (1890). The Butterflies of India, Burmah and Ceylon, Vol. 3. The Calcutta Central Press Co. Ltd, India, 338–344pp.

de Nicéville, L. (1896). On new and little-known butterflies from the Indo-Malayan Region (2). Journal of Bombay Natural History Society 10(2): 169–194.

Evans, W.H. (1910). A List of the Butterflies of the Palni Hills with descriptions of two new species. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 20(2): 380–392.

Evans, W.H. (1927). The Identification of Indian Butterflies. Bombay Natural History Society, The Diocesan Press, Madras, India, i–viii+1-302pp+pl, I–XXXII.

Godart, J.B. (1824). In: Latreille & Godart. Histoire naturelle Entomologie, ou histoire naturelle des crustacés, des arachnides et des insectes. Encyclopédie Méthodique 9(2): 634–635.

Hewitson, W.C. (1862). Illustrations of Diurnal Lepidoptera Part I Lycaenidae, Vol. 1. Taylor and Francis, London, i–x+229pp.

Kehimkar, I. (2008). The Book of Indian Butterflies. Bombay Natural History Society, Oxford University Press, 226p.

Khramov, P. (2016). Creon cleobis (Godart, [1824]). Electronic version accessed on 22 December 2016

Sasidharan, N. (2011). Helixanthera intermedia Helixanthera_intermedia Electronic version accessed on 14 October 2016

Ugarte, E.& L. Rodricks (1960). Butterflies of the Palni Hills: a Complementary List. Journal of Bombay Natural History Society 57(2): 270–277.

Varghese, A.O. & K. Balasubramanyan (1999). Structure, composition and diversity of the tropical wet evergreen forest of the Agasthyamalai region of Kerala, Western Ghats. Journal of South Asian Natural History 4(1): 87–98.