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.