Crimson Rose is a butterfly with a wingspan of 90 - 110 mm. The crimson Rose is a large, glossy, black butterfly with two broad white bands on the fore wings. The tailed hind wings hae bright crimson spots. The uppersides and undersides of the wings are similar in markings. The body is a gaudy crimson in colour. the femaleis somewhat dull.
The Common Rose has elongated white spots ont he hind wing, but lacks the white bands on the fore wing. The form romulus of the Common Mormon female, a mimic of the Crimson Rose, has a black body, is smaller in size and duller in colour.
Status, Distribution and Habitat
Crimson Rose butterfly is very common south of the Godavari river and mainly at lower elevations. Its range extends along the coast of Orissa, South Bihar and West Bengal into Sikkim and parts of northeast India. It is abundant from late monsoon to late winter, but may be found in smaller numbers throughout the year. It occurs mainly in the dry deciduous forests and thick scrub, but may also be found in disturbed semi-evergreen and evergreen forests. This is a species restricted to mainland India and Sri Lanka, although it has also been recorded from eastern Myanmmar and Andaman Islands.
Like the Common Rose, the Crimson Rose has a a slow, fluttering but steady flight, However, it flies slightly faster, stronger and at a greater height from the ground.
It is a regular visitor of flowers, and nectar probably plays a decisive role in its egg-production. The higher intake of nectar may be augmenting egg production. the flowers of Lantana, a shrub which has now infested vast patches in disturbed dry and moist deciduous forests of southern India, is its favourite nectar plant. the butterfly is very common wherever large patches of flowering Lantana Occur.
It basks with its wings spread flat. Sometimes small congregations of basking individuals may be formed, often at 10 - 15 m up in the trees. While resting, the fore wings are half-drawn between the hind wings. the butterfly sleeps on slanting, outstreached branches of shrubs, small trees, etc.
It has strong migratory habits. Massive congregations of up to several thousand individuals may be found at the end of the peak season for the species. These then migrate to other areas.
It is similar to the Common Rose. The caterpillar is purplish-black or blackish-brown with a black head and orange osmeterium. The body is fat, with orange-red tubercles, and a transverse yellowish-white band on segments 6 to 8 is very prominent.
The pupa is pinkish-brown with darker, expanded wing-cases. the wing-like expansions on the abdomen are distinctive.
Length of Caterpillar: 45 mm. Length of pupa: 30 mm.
Larval Host Plants
The caterpillars feed on Aristolochia bracteolata, Aristolochia indica and Thottea siliquosa ( Aristolochiaceae ).