Thailand, Malaysia & Borneo
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - JUNONIINI
female, Gopeng, West Malaysia ©
Junonia comprises about 33 species, of
which 11 occur in the Oriental region. Of these, 7 are found in West
Malaysia - iphita,
Junonia orithya is typical of the
genus, being brightly marked with blue and orange, and possessing
prominent ocelli. It is a fairly common species, although never as
abundant as its duller relatives iphita,
atlites. The butterfly is found in sub-Saharan Africa,
Arabia, and over most of the Oriental and Australian regions.
Both sexes are
similar in colour and pattern, but the male has more extensive areas
of blue, and smaller ocelli on the hindwings.
species, like most others in the genus, is found mainly in open
habitats. In Africa I have found the butterflies common on open
savannah country in the dry season, but in Malaysia they tend to be
seen in degraded and disturbed situations such as along roadsides,
on farmland, in quarries and in open grassy forest clearings. This
is mainly a lowland species, found at elevations between sea level
and about 300 metres.
The green, barrel-shaped eggs are laid singly on
the underside of leaves of the foodplants.
The larva when fully grown is black with minute
yellow spots, and covered in short multi-branched spines. The head
is orange, with a pair of short black spines. It feeds diurnally on
the foliage of herbaceous plants including
Pseuderanthenum, Barleria (
Ipomoea, ( Convolvulaceae ), Angelonia
( Scrophulariaceae ), Lippia, (
Orobanchaceae ), Plantago,
Plantaginaceae ) and doubtless many other genera and species.
The chrysalis is
brown, mottled with greyish, and has yellowish-brown wing cases. The
back is studded with tiny thorn-like tubercules. It is suspended by
the cremaster from dry stems.
Blue Pansies fly
swiftly, usually over short distances, interspersed with short
periods spent basking on the ground or on foliage, at which time
they usually hold their wings fully outspread.
Both sexes nectar at a wide variety of wild or cultivated flowers.
Males also visit rotting fruit, and in Tanzania I have
seen groups of them at elephant dung in the Serengeti.