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Butterflies of Thailand, Malaysia & Borneo
Blue Pansy
Junonia orithya  LINNAEUS, 1758
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - NYMPHALINAE
Tribe - JUNONIINI
Junonia orithya wallacei, female, Gopeng, West Malaysia  Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
The genus Junonia comprises about 33 species, of which 11 occur in the Oriental region. Of these, 7 are found in West Malaysia - iphita, hedonia, atlites, orithya, hierta, almana and lemonias.
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, hedonia and 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.
Habitats
This 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.
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
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.
 

 

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