Grey Count (Tanaecia lepidea)
Occurrence and Appearance:
|Caterpillar of Grey Count|
Grey count often seen protecting territory and is the reason why one finds individual presence in a any area. I have mostly observed these fellows on road side or near water bodies. Its shy butterfly and senses the possible threat quickly. Normally it is seen on ground with both the wings flat open. When disturbed it flies swiftly to the high place, normally to a tree leaf. It seats on the leaf and observes the area and waits it get cleared.
Both sexes are alike. Female lays egg on backside of the leaf. While doing so she keeps the wings flat open. Female prefers the small trees to lay the eggs. Caterpillar is very similar to common baron. It has spiky structure which resembles with the vein structure of a typical leaf. Due to good camouflage capabilities, caterpillar can remain on front side of the leaf.
Host plant:Wild guava ( Careya arborea ), called as कुम्भा in Marathi, is the most preferred host plant by the female in Konkan region. This is native and deciduous tree has very large leaves on which caterpillar can reside easily.
It is a work of patient waiting. Butterfly needs to be approached very carefully. Even small disturbance like sound or rapid movement causes specimen to fly away. Usually grey count seats on with completely open wings. This is the perfect moment to capture the good open wing photo. Under wing photo can only be obtained after if life cycle is recorded. I haven't seen this butterfly seating with wing closed.