This section focuses on simple guidelines to identify butterfly by visual observation. The Body structure of butterfly is similar to other insects consisting primarily of the head, thorax and abdomen. Most of the butterflies had been recorded on the basis of upper wing and underwing markings (Fig. 1 & 2). It is essential to note the brands and spots for identifying the butterflies up to the species level. Sometime it is very difficult to identify butterfly up to species level due to its spots variation and polymorphism also. In that case of many butterflies group viz. Hesperiids, it is essential to examine the genitilia to confirm up to species and subspecies level.
In this website, it is assumed that all of the identification of butterflies had been done by different renowned books of butterflies and through field observation.
Labelled illustrations are an overview of the key parts (Fig. 3) and terms associated with wings.
Fig 3. Terms associated with wings (Figure source wikipedia)
Fig 4. Butterfly Venetion as seen in Appias Pauline (Figure source Leite L.A.R., 2013)
Abdomen: Part of the butterfly’s body behind the thorax
Adult: Refers to the mature Stage
Antennae: Situated close to the eyes of the adult butterflies.
Apex: The wing tip between costa and termen
Base: Nearest junction with the body of wings.
Bar end-cell: Bar or band marking touching the apical end to the costa and termen
Brand: A patch of scented scales on the wings of male butterflies.
Cilia: Hair like fringes edging the wing.
Cell: An elongated area, extending from the base of the wing and enclosed by veins. Veins begin from the cell and extend to the costa.
Costa: The upper margin of wing.
Dentate: Teeth like projections on the wing margin at the ends of veins.
Discal: The middle area of the wing beyond the cell and before the margin
Dorsum: The lower margin of the wing.
Falcate: Sickle shaped area in the termen of the forewing where the apex in sharply produced and the outer margin is deeply concave below it.
Interspace: Area between veins.
Larvae: The caterpillar.
Lobe: The rounded extention of the hindwing tornus.
Lunule: Crescent shaped marking usually present on the margin of the wings.
Margin: The area between the termen and disc.
Oceillus: Eye like marking on the wings.
Pre costal vein: The short vein emerging from vein 8 near very small scales of various patterns.
Scales: The covering of the wings consisting very small scales of various pattern.
Striated: Close mark with short and fine line.
Termen: The outer edge of the wing.
Thorax: The middle part of the body, bearing wings and legs.
Tooth: A brief projection of the wing margin.
Tornal: The lower corner of the wing at the junction of the termen and dorsum.
Truncate: Cut of part of the wing apex.
UPW: Upper wing.
UNW: Under Wing.
UNF: Under forewing.
UNH: Under hindwing.
UPF: Upper forewing.
UPH: Upper hindwing.
Veins: Ribs supporting the wing.
Wing Span: Wingspan is the distance measured across a butterfly’s wing.