Butterflies of New
and the islands of the South Pacific
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
Tribe - JUNONIINI
© David Fischer
Junonia comprises of 33 species found
variously in North and South America, Africa, the Oriental region,
Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia and the islands of the South
Pacific. There are 3 species in Australia:
hedonia, villida and
orithya. The various members of the
genus differ markedly in colour but have several characteristics in
common, including prominent maculae in the discal cell of the
forewing, and circular ocelli on the hindwings. In several species
including villida and orithya there are also prominent ocelli on the
forewings. All species have cryptic marbled undersides which
resemble dry dead leaves.
Junonia orithya is typical of the genus,
being brightly marked with blue and orange, and possessing prominent
ocelli. Both sexes are similar in colour and pattern, but the male has
more extensive areas of blue, and smaller ocelli on the hindwings.
The butterfly is
found in Sulawesi, Java, Bali, Timor, West Irian, Papua New Guinea,
the islands of the Torres Strait, and across most of Australia. It
is also common over most of sub-Saharan Africa, Arabia, and the
species, like most others in the genus, is found mainly in open
habitats including grassland, savannah / woodland mosaics, large
clearings in forests, and on farmland. 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 ),
( Verbenaceae ),
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.
Both sexes nectar
at a wide variety of wild or cultivated flowers. They fly swiftly,
usually over short distances, and spend short periods basking on the
ground or on foliage, with their wings held fully outspread.