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Butterflies of the Indian subcontinent
Common Evening Brown
Melanitis leda  LINNAEUS, 1758
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
Tribe - MELANITINI
Melanitis leda dry season form, Ultapani, Assam, India   Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
The genus Melanitis comprises of 12 species, commonly known as Evening Browns due to their preference for flying after dark.
Melanitis leda exhibits pronounced seasonal dimorphism. The wet season morph has a pale brown underside, finely irrorated with dark brown, and has prominent sub-marginal ocelli. The underside of the dry season form is extremely variable, some examples being plain pale brown and virtually devoid of markings, while others are marked with prominent dark bands or blackish blotches, and small whitish ocelli.
Melanitis leda is a very common and extremely widespread species found across almost the entire Oriental region, and also across most of Africa and much of Australia.
Melanitis leda hiding among leaf litter, Ultapani, Assam, India   Adrian Hoskins
Habitats
This species occurs in forests and plantations at elevations between sea level and about 500m.
Melanitis leda dry season form, Manas, Assam, India   Adrian Hoskins
Lifecycle
The larval foodplants include the grasses Miscanthus, Isachne, Setaria, Brachyaria, Microstegium, Apluda, Capillipedium, Coix, Cyrtococcum, Eleusine, Oplismenus, Saccarum, Paspalum, Panicum, Stenotaphrum, Imperata, Zea and Sorghum.
Adult behaviour

The butterflies are normally found in small colonies in forests and plantations. They fly mainly in the early part of the evening and often enter houses, attracted by artificial lighting. During the daytime they rest in the undergrowth but are easily disturbed from their resting places.

Melanitis leda, dry season form   Adrian Hoskins

 

 

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