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Common Gull
  Cepora nerissa  Fabricius, 1775
(Lihini Samanalaya)
Scientific classification
Kingdom : Animalia
Phylum : Arthropoda
Class : Insecta
Order : Lepidoptera
Family : Pieridae
Genus : Cepora
Species : C. nerissa
Binomial name
  Cepora nerissa  Fabricius, 1775
  Huphina nerissa
Cepora nerissa evagete 
Status in Sri Lanka
  Common resident
  40-50 mm
Host plant
  The larval host plants are Capparis spp.; such as Capparis zeylanica and Capparis sepiara.
Nectaring Plants
Similar species
  • The Pioneer ♀♂
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      They are found in the Oriental Region. The sub species is also found in South India apart from Sri Lanka.  
    Color/ pattern  
    Male ♂   Female ♀

    A medium sized black, white and yellow simply colored but a handsome butterfly. It is somewhat subjected to seasonal dimorphism, the wet season form being darker and slightly larger than the dry season form.

    The upper side is creamy white with black veins. The apex and the marginal areas along the costa and termen are black, embedded with cream colored markings. The dark markings of the underside hind wing show through faintly on the upper side. The underside of the common Gull is ground color of the hind wing is creamy yellow in contrast to its similar species and the veins are broadly lined with light brown to dark gray scales. The forewing is similarly marked, but the ground color is mostly white.

      It is similar as the male. However, the female may be distinguished from the male by the more extensive black markings on both wings and the wider black markings on the veins. Also on the upper side, it has a wide black band that completely surrounds cell.
    Identification characters of sexes  
      Female has more rounded forewings than the male  
      It is a common species, widely distributed almost in the whole island and an insect of the scrub jungles of the intermediate, dry and arid zones. But it mostly prefers open spaces in the Low country zone and is found up to 1500 feet in elevation. It is commonest during the pre-monsoon period and is sometimes seen in the hills during migrations. At those times these butterflies can be even encountered at elevations of over 6 000 feet. Although it joins migratory flights, it is not a nuclear species.  

    These butterflies like to settle in swarms and it takes part in huge migrations and In the low country this species, in the company of other pierids  and some papilionids, may be commonly encountered at seepage, damp sand and mud puddles on very hot and dry days.

    It has a flight which is moderately fast flying in a zigzag path with a continuous flapping of its wings and keeps relatively low to the ground. Its flight is also distinctive, crisp and vigorous with a constant flapping of wings. Its flight has a flicking sound which is heard when it’s extra busy in its short ascents and descents, trying to muscle in amongst its fellows congregated around a mud puddle.

    It moves through dense scrub quite well, though it often goes around thickets or simply flies over them, keeping a uniform distance between itself and the foliage. When it settles to nectar in its wanderings, it keeps its wings slightly open and often hangs on the flower or sits at an incline.

    It is often found in the company of other 'Whites' such as the Yellow and White Orange Tips, the Pioneer and the Striped Albatross, which all share the same habitat. Like them, it is attracted to wet gravel or the edges of drying up pools on river beds, especially during hot weather.

    Worn-out individuals of The Pioneer look similar in flight with this particular species. However, once settled, it is not difficult to tell them apart.

    Mechanisms to overcome threats  
    Ovum (Eggs)   Larvae (Caterpillar)
    Pupa (Chrysalis)   Imago (Winged Adult)
    Pupation often occurs on the underside of a leaf which helps to escape predators.    
    Ovum (Eggs)
    Size :
    Number :
    The eggs are laid singly on the underside of the leaves of capers, usually on those near the ground or a few feet above the ground.
    Color :
    The larvae are uniformly green in color and blend well into the leaves on which they feed.
    Time duration :

    Season :

    Larvae (Caterpillar)
    Size :
    Shape :
    Color :
    Typically pierid, green to yellow-green, glossy, covered in short minute black hairs, a line of whitish hairs just above the legs on either side of the abdomen.
    Time duration :
    Season :


    Pupa (Chrysalis)
    Size :
    Shape :
    Color :
    They are green or bluish-green, with paler wing-cases and thoracic keel; head with whitish horn; two lateral projections from lower end of the thorax; fixed by girdle and cremaster.
    Time duration :
    Season :
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