T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Evening Brown butterfly (Melanitis leda)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Nymphalidae
Genus: Melanitis
Species: M. leda
Binomial name: Melanitis leda
Synonyms: Papilio leda, Melanitis Ismene, Cyllo Helena, Cyllo fulvescens, Melanitis leda Africana, Melanitis leda Africana f. zitenides, Melanitis leda ab. Plagiata
Common name: Common Evening Brown butterfly

The Common Evening Brown (Melanitis leda) is a common species of butterfly found flying at dusk. The flight of this species is erratic. They are found in Africa, South Asia and South-east Asia extending to parts of Australia. It is a very rare visitor to New Zealand coming across the Tasman Sea on the jet stream from Austraila during late summer and autumn. It doesn’t breed here.
Colours and patterns vary between individuals. They are brown in colour and they look like a dead leaf. The underside wings are marked with small eyespots pattern, which confuses the predators not to attack the butterfly body. The butterfly has two colour forms. In winter they have fewer eyespots pattern on the bottom side of their wings and are a darker colour.

The wet season form.  

The dry season form.
 

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