Sunday, November 3, 2013

Peacock Pansy

When I started this series of "Butterflies from my garden" I was hoping to at least photograph fifteen butterfly species. I have now crossed my initial estimate and this Peacock Pansy ( Junonia almana ) is the sixteenth in the series.
This is a common garden visitor, who maintains a very large distance from me and my tripod. Hence all photographs of this butterfly are clicked for a great distance. This species thrives on the plant Hygrophila auriculata, which is also used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine.

The butterfly as visible, is orange with prominent eyespots- now the question we may ask is; why do butterflies have eyespots ( many of which even looks like eyes)? I have come across two interesting but contrasting theories. One believes, that the eyespots act as target for the predators and their attack is deflected towards the eyespot instead of some vital part of the body. Losing bit of wing edges does not adversely affect the butterfly. Another theory states that predators don't attack from the front, they prefer to sneak from behind and catch their prey. So for a predator, the eyespots give the wing the appearance of a face and will attack the butterfly from its real front ( imagining it to be the back side). This will give the butterfly ample warning time, to fly off. You can accept either of the ideas or any one that you feel suits the best.

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