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Butterflies of Australia
Blue Pansy
Junonia orithya  LINNAEUS, 1758
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - NYMPHALINAE
Tribe - JUNONIINI
Junonia orithya, Wollongong, NSW, Australia David Fischer
Introduction
The genus 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 sub-Saharan Africa, Arabia, and over most of the Oriental and Australian regions. In Australia it occurs in Northern Territory, North West Australia, Torres Strait islands, Queensland, and New South Wales.
Habitats
This 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.
Lifecycle
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 Justicia, Hypoestes, Lepidagathis, Thunbergia, Rostellularia, Hygrophila, Asystasia, Pseuderanthenum, Barleria ( Acanthaceae ), Convolvulus, Ipomoea, ( Convolvulaceae ), Angelonia ( Scrophulariaceae ),  Lippia, ( Verbenaceae ), Buchnera, ( Orobanchaceae ), Plantago, Antirrhinum ( 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.
Adult behaviour
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.
 

 

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