Elymnias hypermnestra agina (Common Palmfly)

Elymnias hypermnestra agina (Common Palmfly)

Elymnias hypermnestra agina (Common Palmfly) on Manila Palm, in our garden, Malaysia The Common Palmfly is a nymphalid butterfly that often visits our tropical garden, especially attracted by our potted palm trees, located at the frontyard as well as the backyard.

We grow three palm species, namely Manila Palm, Lady Palm and Macarthuri Palm and all have been ‘invaded’ by caterpillars of different sizes, mostly green-colored. Fortunately, the palm leaflets are plentiful enough to be spared without losing their overall elegant outlook. This brown beauty is definitely one of the culprits, leaving its mark on the host plants! :)

Elymnias hypermnestra agina is a medium to large butterfly with a wingspan of about 6-8 cm. On the upperside, the butterfly is bluish-black with a series of blue to purple submarginal spots on the forewing, and purplish-brown on the hindwing. The underside has fabulous brown tones with subtle purplish-grey markings and a characteristic triangular shape in bright contrasting colors at the apex of the forewing. There is also a white spot in the center of the costa on the hindwing. The female resembles the male but is slightly larger, lighter in color and has a few whitish submarginal spots on the upper surface of the hindwings.

It flies in a slow flapping and gliding motion, stopping ever so often on the palm fronds or concrete walls nearby, after each short flight. Usually, pausing for quite some while, enabling one to enjoy its beauty. A pity though, that its wings are always seen folded at rest! I would have love too if it will spread its wings horizontal, at least once for me! ;)


  • Scientific name: Elymnias hypermnestra agina
  • Common name: Common Palmfly
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)
  • Family: Nymphalidae
  • Subfamily: Satyrinae
  • Genus: Elymnias
  • Species: hypermnestra agina

Range: Sri Lanka and India to Taiwan and Indo-China, through Malaysia to the Lesser Sunda Islands and the Philippines.

Habitat: Forest and woodlands, as well as home gardens and urban parks. Mostly abundant wherever its food plant of the Palmae (Arecaceae) family thrives

Food plants: Caterpillar feeds on the leaves of various Palm species of the plant family, Arecaceae (Palmae), especially Golden Cane Palm (Dypsis lutescens) and include Coconut (Cocos nucifera), Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa), Manila Palm (Veitchia merrillii) and Macarthur Palm (Ptychosperma macarthurii).

Last edit: May 31, 2016

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