dead leaf

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The orange oakleaf or dead leaf (Kallima inachus) is a nymphalid butterfly found in tropical Asia from India to Japan. With wings closed, it closely resembles a dry leaf with dark veins and is a spectacular and commonly cited example of camouflage.

The butterfly wings are shaped like a leaf when in the closed position. When the wings are closed, only the cryptic underside markings are visible, which consists of irregular patterns and striations in many shades of biscuit, buff, browns, yellow, and black. The veins are darkened and resemble the veins of a leaf. The resemblance to a dried leaf is extremely realistic and gives the genus its common name, viz oakleaf or dead leaf.

When the wings are open, the forewing exhibits a black apex, an orange discal band and a deep blue base. There are two white oculi, one along the margin of the apical black band, and the other bordering the orange and deep blue areas. The hindwing is more uniformly blue but diffused with brown patches along the termen.

Male and female butterflies are similar except that the female is generally larger and has the apex of the forewing protrude to form a longer point. Females also tend to be more reddish on the underside and the yellow mottled markings tend to be paler. The butterfly exhibits polyphenism, i.e. there are specific dry season and wet season forms which differ in colouration and size; the WSF tends to be smaller.

The wingspan of the butterfly ranges from 85 to 110 millimetres (3.3 to 4.3 in).

Detailed description as given in Bingham (1905). source

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