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The Orange Oakleaf Butterfly (Kallima inachus)

Kallima inachus, the orange oakleaf, Indian oakleaf or dead leaf butterfly is found in Asia from India to Japan. With wings closed, the orange oakleaf resembles a dry leaf with dark veins and is a commonly cited example of camouflage. it’s helps this butterfly hide from Birds and other predators. 

The butterfly wings are shaped like a leaf when in the closed position. it’s really hard to distinguish between a dead leaf and this butterfly. When the wings are closed, only the cryptic underside markings are visible, which consists of irregular patterns and striations in many shades, buff, browns, yellow, and black. The veins are darkened and resemble the veins of a leaf. due to the appearance of this butterfly it’s given the name “dead leaf butterfly”.

When the wings of kallima inachus 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.

The only difference between fale and female is 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. these butterflies have specific dry-season and wet-season forms which differ in coloration and size; the wet-season form tends to be smaller.

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

The Orange Oakleaf Dry-season form

The dry-season form of these butterflies very closely resembles a dry leaf. sometimes they possess some shade of brown (rusty, greyish, and yellowish browns being the most common), always with scattered dark dots or little dark patches having the appearance of fungus-like or lichenous growths just like on dead leaves.

When the insect closes its wings over its back the likeness to a dead leaf is most striking, and is heightened by a straight transverse, narrow, dark band running from the apex of the forewing to the tornus of the hindwing, often with oblique narrower similar bands or lines given off from it, all simulating like the midrib and lateral veins of a leaf.

Wet-season form

Their wet-season form is smaller than the dry-season form, but have very similarities to it. The colors are richer and darker, and the orange discal band more broadly bordered with black on the inner side. On the underside some of the specimens from areas of heavy rainfall have the ground color very dark brown or mud color.

Dead leaf Butterfly Habits

The orange oakleaf or dead leaf butterfly is a powerful flier and usually flies in dense forests with good rainfall, amongst undergrowth and along stream beds. It is attracted to tree sap and over-ripe fruit, and is also known to mud-puddle (usually you will not spot these butterflies as they are very good at hiding from their predators).

when these butterflies feel danger they flies erratically, soon dropping down into the foliage and occupying a stationary pose with wings closed, so that the birds are very often quite unable to find them. In such a pose, the butterfly resembles a dried leaf and is perfectly camouflaged (almost unable to spot).

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