China Butterfly

photograph by Dale A. Johnson

For several days walking back from teaching class I have observed an extraordinary butterfly. Back in the Dominican Republic I wrote a small book on butterflies. It is called and Incomplete guide to Lepidoptera of the Dominican Republic. I am an amateur scientist when it comes to these matters. Still it does not stop me from probing deeper the mysteries of nature.

Finally today the butterfly landed beside me when I was collecting grasshoopers to feed to my hungry spiders. I carefully took out the camera and photographed this gift of heaven. Blue does not occur much in nature. I think it was Darwin who first notied this phenomenon (although it probably was a Chinese scientist thousands of years ago who first noted this feature of nature). It probably has something to do with the evolution of vision in insects and mammals.

I have identified this butterfly as the Blue Pansy—–Junonia orithya (Linnaeus,1758)

Junonia is a genus of nymphalid butterflies, described by Jacob Hübner in 1819.[1] They are commonly known as Buckeyes, Pansies, or Commodores. This genus flies on every continent except Antarctica. The genus contains about 30-35 species.

Junonia orithya (Linnaeus, 1758)

Madagascar, Tropical Africa (dry), Arabia, India, Ceylon, Burma, New Guinea, N.Australia. See [About maps] Blue Pansy
Papilio orithya Linnaeus, 1758; Syst. Nat. (Edn 10) 1 : 473, TL: S.China
?Junonia orithya f. isocratia Hübner, [1819]; Verz. bek. Schmett. (3): 34
?Precis orithya ab. flava Wichgraf, 1918; Int. Ent. Z. 12: 26
?Precis adamauana Schultze, 1920; Ergeb. 2tn. Dt. Zent. Afrika Exp. 1 (14): 823
?Precis orithya ab. jacouleti Watari, 1941; Zephyrus 9: 70-72
Junonia orithya [Wahlberg]
Junonia orithya [Don Herbison-Evans]
Papilio oritya ; Linnaeus, 1764, Mus. Lud. Ulr.: 473 (missp.)
orithyra ; Waterhouse & Lyell, 1914, (missp.)
orithyia ; [BIR]
Precis orithya ; [BOW: pl. 150, f. 6]
Junonia orithya ; [BOR, 278]; [MRS, 578]; [Wahlberg]; [AfrL]

Nevertheless here are some more pics.

photo by author

Blue Pansy (Nymphalidae Nymphalinae Junonia orithya – Linnaeus, 1758)

The ova are about 0.5 mm diameter;
many of the eggs were laid on non-LFP plants.

The 1st instar larva, 2 mm when first hatched out (left);
about 1 cm / 0.4 inches long (right)

The 2nd instar larva, about 1.5 cm / 0.6 inches long

A 3rd instar larva, about 2.5 cm / 1 inch long.

 A nearly mature larva, about 4 cm / 1.6 inch long.


About daleinchina

Chongqing University of Arts and Sciences.
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