Thailand, Malaysia & Borneo
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - JUNONIINI
Gopeng, West Malaysia ©
are superficially very similar, but the genitalia differ
consistently, as do the larval foodplants. These are Lamiaceae in
the solely African genus Precis, and
Acanthaceae in Junonia. The latter
genus is more widely distributed, and includes the Pansy butterflies
of Africa, the Buckeyes of Central America and the USA, and the
Soldiers and Commodores of the Oriental and Australian regions.
Using the above
definitions, Junonia comprises about 33
species, of which 11 occur in the Oriental region. Of these, 7 are
found in West Malaysia and Borneo - iphita,
Junonia iphita the most sombrely
coloured of these species, and also one of the commonest and most
widespread. It is found from Sri Lanka and India to China, and
through the Malay archipelago to Bali and the Lesser Sunda Isles.
Both sexes are very
similar in appearance, but the female has slightly broader and more
rounded wings. On the underside the wings are pale brown with a dark
stripe, and look like a dead leaf.
This species is
very similar to its close relative hedonia
but the latter has a richer chocolate brown ground colour.
Junonia iphita is
found mainly in degraded and disturbed forest habitats including
palm plantations, small clearings, and along roadsides and
riverbanks at elevations between sea level and at least 1200m. It
also occurs in primary rainforest and temperate evergreen and
The eggs are pale green with 14 prominent
vertical ribs, and are laid singly either on the foodplant or on
nearby twigs or dead leaves.
The larva when
fully grown is dull dark brown, and adorned with rows of
multi-branched spikes along the back and sides. It feeds on a wide
range of plants in the Acanthaceae including
Asteracantha, Goldfussia and
The chrysalis is
dull brown with rows of tubercules along the back and sides. It is
suspended by the cremaster from a leaf or twig.
Both sexes are low
flying, and spend long periods basking on herbage or on the ground.
They are relatively easy to approach, and rarely fly far if
disturbed. When not basking they tend to sit on the leaves of bushes
or saplings, where they often remain motionless for several minutes
even in hot sunny weather.