Blue Nawab Butterfly: Identification, Life Cycle, and Behavior

In this article, you will get an in-depth look at the fascinating Blue Nawab Butterfly. You’ll learn about their distribution, main characteristics, mating rituals and more.

Gain insights into this unique butterfly’s life cycle, diet, and the key threats these enchanting creatures face today.

Blue Nawab Butterfly (Polyura schreiber)

What is the Classification of Blue Nawab Butterfly?

The Blue Nawab Butterfly, scientifically called Polyura schreiber, is part of the expansive Papilionoidea superfamily.

Under this superfamily, the Blue Nawab falls into the Nymphalidae family. These are known as brush-footed butterflies and comprise of about 6,000 species around the globe.

This particular butterfly resides within the Charaxinae subfamily, then more specifically, under the genus Polyura.

This genus holds 27 species, including our topic of interest, the Blue Nawab.

Classification Level Name
Superfamily Papilionoidea
Family Nymphalidae
Subfamily Charaxinae
Genus Polyura
Species P. schreiber

The scientific name Polyura schreiber pays homage to its European discoverer, Julius Ritter von Schreiber.

So, when you spot that striking blue sheen in the wild, you now know its revered lineage. The Blue Nawab certainly boasts an impressive scientific heritage.

What is the Distribution of Blue Nawab Butterfly?

The Blue Nawab butterfly inhabits diverse locations worldwide, but it favors certain environments. Mostly found in the Asian subcontinents, it thrives in tropical and subtropical regions.

IndiaSri LankaMalaysia, and Singapore are some of its main habitats. Specifically, in India, it is prevalent in the western ghats, a rich biodiversity hotspot.

The butterfly also reserves a striking presence in Southeast Asia, inhabiting the Peninsular part of Malaysia. Moreover, it is a common sight in the forests of Singapore, where it elegantly displays its beauty.

  • India
  • Sri Lanka
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore

The availability of its food source, Caitisa ravana tree, is a vital determinant in its distribution. This tree is found in abundance in the above regions and this butterfly favors its leaves for feeding and laying eggs.

This symbiosis between the Blue Nawab butterfly and the Caitisa ravana tree results in a unique harmony, deeply rooted in nature.

The Blue Nawab butterfly marks its presence handsomely worldwide, yet it proudly boasts its lustrous blue wings in the heart of Asia, enchanting every onlooker with its striking magnificence.

What are the Main Characteristics of the Blue Nawab Butterfly?

The Blue Nawab, scientifically known as Polyura schreiber, is distinguished by its unique colorings and markings. Predominantly, it features a dazzling blue hue over the majority of its wings.

This vivacious blue is outlined by black with white spots, creating a stark contrast that intrigues observers.

  • Size and Shape: The adult Blue Nawab possesses a wing span ranging from 2.8 to 3.5 inches (70 to 90 mm). The wings take on a triangular shape, akin to most of their kind in the Nymphalidae family.
  • Color Pattern: This butterfly stands out due to its vivid blue coloring paired with black and white spots. The underside of its wings, however, showcases a more complex, mozaic-like pattern of black, white, and orange.
  • Body: The Blue Nawab’s body is commonly black with a few blue spots. This lustrously colored body, coupled with the insect’s strong and rapid flight pattern, makes it both an elegant and fascinating creature to view.

Notably, the Blue Nawab butterfly is more active in the early morning, displaying a stunning spectacle of flitting and circling about in the forest undergrowth.

Finally, when resting, it typically camouflages itself by closing its wings, concealing the vibrant display and exhibiting the more muted underside.

This mimicry behavior plays a vital role in their survival, an incredible feat which speaks volumes about their adaptation skills in the wild.

How to Identify Male and Female Blue Nawab Butterfly?

Recognizing the sex of a Blue Nawab Butterfly isn’t a tough task. Both genders share a common appearance, but specifics make the difference.

  • Males have a vibrant, iridescent blue colour on the upper side of their wings. This striking shade extends edge-to-edge and is a sight to behold. The underside of their wings has a mix of navy, brown, and white spots.
  • Females, on the other hand, have a relatively duller colour. Their wings don’t cast the same iridescent blue hue that the males do. Instead, they sport a rich brown shade. They also have a series of jagged, white bands.

Keep an eye on the wing edges. The curvature is sharper in females than males. Their body size is a definitive trait too. The females are often larger, usually by about 0.2 inches (0.5 cm) compared to the males.

Their behaviour can help in identification too, as males are more likely to be seen flying around in search of females, while females are more often found near host plants, laying eggs.

In the end, with these tips in mind, differentiating between a male and female Blue Nawab Butterfly becomes a keen observation task.

What is the Mating Ritual of Blue Nawab Butterfly?

The mating ritual of the Blue Nawab butterfly is quite a fascinating spectacle to behold. It starts with the male butterfly, which is primarily responsible for initiating the process.

He displays an attractive flight pattern to allure the female counterpart. These strategized flight movements are further polished off with the open-flutter-close sequences.

Once the male has grabbed the female butterfly’s attention, he then releases a unique scent. This distinct and captivating chemical scent released from the androconia, a specialized set of scales, is specifically designed to entice the females.

Next comes a period of courtship. This period involves a series of flight patterns and demonstrations between the male and female butterflies. The female, if sufficiently wooed, will conclude this phase by accepting the male partner for mating.

The finale of the ritual involves the laying of eggs. If the courtship was successful, the female Nawab will lay her fertilized eggs on the host plant.

She particularly prefers the young leaves of the host plant for egg laying to ensure the safety and growth of her larva. Following egg laying, the male and female disengage, culminating the mating process.

Remember, during the full cycle of mating, the Blue Nawab butterflies display an intricate but dedicated rhythm.

It’s a testament to their instinctual choreography and an exemplification of nature’s exceptional design strategies.

What Does the Cartepilar of Blue Nawab Butterfly Look Like?

The caterpillar of the Blue Nawab butterfly, or Polyura schreiber, is a visual spectacle that’s as fascinating as the adult butterfly itself. About 1.8 inches (45 mm) long, its body is a captivating mix of vibrant colors, primarily red with a collection of yellow-tipped, black outgrowths.

These bristled outgrowths cover the caterpillar’s body throughout its larval stage, giving it a ferocious look intended to ward off potential predators.

Furthermore, the caterpillar possesses a unique defense mechanism. When threatened, it reveals a pair of hidden glandular structures, called osmeteria, that emit a noxious odor to deter its enemies.

In terms of body structure, the Blue Nawab’s caterpillar has a segmented body with a clearly defined head. Its eyes are small and barely visible, a feature it shares with many other types of caterpillars.

This intriguing creature also sports a pair of hook-like structures known as anal prolegs, which help it cling tightly to leaves and stems while it feeds.

The Blue Nawab’s caterpillar not only looks captivating but also has a unique set of physical features for defense and survival.

What is the Life Cycle of Blue Nawab Butterfly?

The life cycle of the Blue Nawab Butterfly encapsulates four distinct stages, resembling a typical butterfly life cycle. This involves its evolution from an egg, then to a caterpillar (larva), a chrysalis (pupa), and eventually a fully-fledged butterfly (imago).

  1. Egg: Deposited meticulously by adult female butterflies on the undersides of host leaves (such as mango and cashew plants), these round translucent eggs are just the beginning. They typically hatch within a week, revealing the next stage of life.
  2. Caterpillar: Emerging from the shells are cylindrical, dark brown or green caterpillars, arrayed with yellow bands. They feed fervently on the host leaves, growing larger and periodically shedding their skin (molting) to accommodate their growth— a phase that unfolds over a 2 week span.
  3. Chrysalis: Following intense feeding and growth, the caterpillar then finds a safe spot to metamorphosize. It anchors itself upside-down in a ‘J’ shape and sheds its outer skin, revealing a hard-shelled chrysalis. Here it remains, undergoing major transformation over the next 10-15 days.
  4. Butterfly: The final chapter commences with the butterfly’s slow emergence. Its folded wings gradually fill with fluid and expand to their full size. Within a few hours, the newly matured Blue Nawab Butterfly can take off, commencing its adult, reproductive phase.

The Blue Nawab Butterfly’s lifecycle spans for about a month, embracing the beauty and resilience of nature’s metamorphosis. A cycle that beautifully emphasizes growth, change and renewal, it is a spectacle to behold.

What Is the Average Life Expectancy of a Blue Nawab Butterfly?

The life expectancy of a Blue Nawab Butterfly is surprisingly brief, spanning around just several weeks on average.

Let it sink in – the kaleidoscope of delicate wings, the tranquil flight, and the nuanced mating rituals, all fleeting through a life that’s condensed into a matter of weeks.

  • Adult Stage: Narrows down to 2-3 weeks.
  • Caterpillar Stage: Lasts for about 2 weeks.
  • Pupal Stage: Approximately 1 week.

Health and environmental conditions can influence this. With favorable, non-threatening conditions, the Blue Nawab Butterfly could extend its lifespan slightly.

Conversely, exposure to harsh conditions can sadly shorten it. Remarkably, it’s in the brevity that the Blue Nawab Butterfly manages to showcase a lifetime worth of beauty, adaptability, and ecological relevance.

Ineffective as it may be to our human lifespan, this is quite typical and expected within the fascinating world of butterflies.

Remember, the purpose the butterfly’s short life isn’t in its duration, but in the succession of its lineage, and the continuation of its species.

This quirky creature carries out its mission in style, contributing its own unique touch to the world’s miraculous biodome.

So, next time you spot a Blue Nawab Butterfly fluttering freely, it’s worth musing over their brief yet impactful existence.

What Does the Diet of a Blue Nawab Butterfly Consist Of?

Just like most butterflies, Blue Nawab Butterfly too has a specific diet that it adheres to. Its dietary habits are linked closely to its environmental habitats and stages of life.

During the caterpillar stage, the diet consists predominantly of leaves. Young caterpillars feed on young leaves, while older ones consume mature foliage.

Specifically, these caterpillars eat leaves of Mallotus and Macaranga species of plants, which are native to their habitats in the Southeast Asian region.

This dietary preference changes when the caterpillar metamorphoses into a butterfly. Now, the Blue Nawab feeds on nectar from flowers, utilizing its long proboscis to reach the nectar.

Besides, they also have a fondness for feeding on overripe fruit. These nectar and fruit diet helps them obtain necessary sugars and nutrients for sustenance.

Lastly, a surprising and unique dietary habit of the Blue Nawab butterfly is tree sap. Tree sap provides these butterflies with minerals and nutrients not typically available in nectar and fruit diet, playing a crucial role in their overall nutrition.

This peculiar sap-feeding habit is a specialized feature within the butterfly world, demonstrating the adaptive nature of these beautiful creatures.

The diet of a Blue Nawab Butterfly is uniquely varied and adaptive, ranging from plant leaves, nectar, overripe fruits to even tree sap, that reflects their survival strategies in varied ecological conditions.

Which Plants Serve as the Primary Hosts for Blue Nawab Butterfly?

Knowing the type of plants that Blue Nawab butterflies prefer is crucial if you’re interested in observing or conserving this species. The primary host plants for this butterfly are two types of rainforest trees: Sloanea and Elaeocarpus.

Specifically, they are drawn to the Elaeocarpus grandiflorus and Sloanea tomentosa tree species. The Elaeocarpus grandiflorus, also known as Silver Quandong, has a good size and is much loved by many a butterfly, not just the Nawab.

Sloanea tomentosa, on the other hand, is a large, evergreen rainforest tree, native to Australia and Southeast Asia, fast-growing and with a high canopy – ideal conditions for the butterfly.

Interestingly, the Sloanea genus hosts other Polyura species too. The butterflies show a preference for the new leaves of these trees for laying their eggs. Consequently, the caterpillars munch away on these fresh, tender leaves as their first meal.

So, caterpillars and butterflies of this fascinating species have an inherent connection to these particular tree species. The Blue Nawab’s lifecycle revolves around them.

They are vital for the species’ survival and form the core of their habitat. So, if you’re planning to attract these butterflies, planting these trees would be the right choice.

But remember, these trees are of considerable size, requiring ample space and typical rainforest conditions to thrive.

What are the Unique Mimicry Behaviors in Blue Nawab Butterfly?

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Blue Nawab butterfly is its unique mimicry behaviors. This insect uses its striking color patterns and behaviors to survive in its environment.

Firstly, the Blue Nawab butterfly employs what is known as Batesian mimicry. This is a form of protective resemblance where a harmless creature pretends to be harmful to ward off predators.

The Blue Nawab, by adopting the color patterns of poisonous or harmful butterflies, deters potential predators from attacking.

Secondly, the Blue Nawab is known to employ what is called Müllerian mimicry. Here, the butterfly resembles another species that is also unpalatable or harmful.

It’s a shared scare tactic. Both the Blue Nawab and its mimicry partner send joint warning signals to predators.

Moreover, the Blue Nawab also exhibits ‘dead-leaf’ mimicry. Using this strategy, the insect fakes its death by staying motionless with wings closed, resembling a crumpled leaf.

Camouflaged against the forest floor, the Blue Nawab becomes almost invisible to predators.

These different types of mimicry employed by the Blue Nawab butterfly represent evolutionary adaptations aimed at enhancing survival.

Each mimicry strategy, whether it’s Batesian, Müllerian, or dead-leaf, binds the insect more securely to its environment, protecting it from a world filled with potential threats.

The artful dodge of mimicry, in the end, is a fascinating testament to the Blue Nawab butterfly’s desire and will to survive.

What Are the Main Threats to Blue Nawab Butterfly Populations?

The Blue Nawab butterfly, a beautiful and fascinating species, sadly faces multiple threats that endanger its populations. Among the principle concerns are habitat destruction, human activities, and introduced predators.

Habitat destruction is the most prominent threat to Blue Nawab butterflies. As forests are cleared to make way for agricultural lands, buildings, and roads, the butterflies lose not only their dwellings but also their food sources. This leads to a rapid decline in their numbers.

Human activities are one of the main threats to the species. Insect collection, particularly butterfly collection for decorative and educational purposes, directly contributes to the shrinking numbers. Given their stunning color and patterns, Blue Nawab butterflies are a prime target for collectors.

Lastly, introduced predators also pose a significant threat to the population. Foreign species often cause a disruption in the food chain, with adverse effects on the Blue Nawab butterfly populations. Without natural defense mechanisms against their new predators, they quickly become vulnerable.

In the end, these threats put the entire existence of the Blue Nawab butterfly at risk. Conservation efforts need to be ramped up and supported to ensure the survival of this unique butterfly species.

Education and protective laws are necessary to ensure the Blue Nawab butterfly continues to grace our world with its beauty.


In conclusion, the Blue Nawab Butterfly is truly a fascinating spectacle of nature, with a deeply intriguing lifecycle and interesting mimicry behaviors.

Understanding them better not only increases our appreciation for these creatures but also helps in their conservation efforts.

What are your thoughts on this captivating butterfly species? Please leave a comment below.

Butterflies   Updated: July 14, 2023
avatar Welcome to Insectic, a blog to learn about insects and bugs. I'm Richard, and I've created this website to share my experience, knowledge, and passion with others.

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