Orange Dead Leaf Butterfly

20 07 2011

While sitting (in the butterfly-shaped chair, of course) and trying to cool off in the Wings of Fancy observatory, I glanced over at the plethora of butterflies gathered to feast on rotting fruit (yum!) and saw a leaf moving. Is that a leaf? Is that a leaf eating that rotten banana? I had never seen anything like it—it was a butterfly camouflaged as a leaf! I learned from a volunteer that it is the Orange Dead Leaf Butterfly or Oakleaf Butterfly (Kallima inachus), native to tropical Asia, India and Japan. Although I never saw it open its wings to reveal the intense complementary colors of blue and orange, I did see it on an ID sign (see inset photo). This species, just like the Common Morpho (that brilliant blue butterfly that never stays still long enough to let anyone photograph it!), is very dull-colored brown and tan on the outside, but so striking when the wings are open.



3 responses

21 07 2011
Mary Ellen Ryall (@happytonics)

I thought the walking stick was about the coolest insect I ever saw but the orange dead leaf butterfly wins by a long shot. This is the most original costume I have ever seen a butterfly wear as its wings. Well done Cindy!

21 07 2011

Quite amazing, but this creature is still in danger regardless of its camouflage. Look closely at the image. With just a bit of imagination one can see a small, rather chubby bird with really skinny legs, both on the same side of its body and clinging to its roost. right—the eye, nose and the slit of a mouth can easily be discerned. Its mouth is slightly turned down, indicating some uncertainty of its location—it may be lost, and is trying to decide whether to launch to the right or to the left.

This may be a Two-headed Helicopter bird, a rare species that was thought to be extinct generations ago. This species was slaughtered by the millions in the 19th century just for their skinny legs, considered a delicacy when breaded and fried. In this regard, the Two-headed Helicopter bird is similar to the frog. We know what happens to the legs, but we can only speculate of what is done with the rest of the frog—rendered into dog food, perhaps, or frog sausage.

Note this bird’s shape—it can launch from its perch in either direction. Note the small black eye on its left, identical to the eye on the right, and the slit of a mouth on the left with one tooth protruding downward, similar to the warthogs found in the Amazon river basin.’

Yep, this is quite a discovery—if the Audubon Society sees this image, your name will go up in lights! Nice shot—congratulations on your discovery of this rare creature.

I know, I know—I have far too much time on my hands.

24 07 2011
Sheila Creighton

that is so cool. great shot!

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