Orange Oakleaf (Kallima inachus)
The orange Oakleaf is a colorful butterfly species belonging to the nymphalid family, indigenous to various parts of Tropical Asia stretching from India till Japan. Its ability to camouflage into dry, dead leaves makes it all the more unique.
Description and Identification
The caterpillar has a velvety, black body with long, yellowish hair, also covered with red spines.
- Family: Nymphalidae
- Genus: Kallima
- Common names: Dead Leaf, Indian Oakleaf
- Scientific Name: Kallima inachus
It is light brown with slaty irrorations, also having small conical points located dorsally on the abdomen. The pupa is also characterized with a thorax which is keeled gently.
Sexual Dimorphism: Present
Color and Appearance: When opened the front part of the wings are deep blue at the base, black at the topmost point with an orange stripe in between just like a band. It has two oculi, white in color, one at the topmost point of the black band, while the other is located adjacent to the blue-orange border. The hind wings have a uniform blue pattern, excepting the outer margin which has patches of brown. When closed, the butterfly looks like a dead leaf. Only the markings on its undersides are visible in shades of yellow, black, brown, biscuit and buff. Though both the sexes are similar in a lot of ways, the females have a more reddish hue on their undersides with paler yellow markings.
Polyphenism: They display a difference in color and size in the dry and wet season. In the dry season, they are big with a pale hue, while in the wet season they are small, having a rich and dark body color.
Average Wingspan: 85-110 mm (3.3-4.3 in)
Flight Pattern: Fast and erratic, made during the dry and wet seasons
When in captivity, about 280 eggs are laid on an average.
|Distribution||India, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Taiwan, China, Laos, Vietnam, Pakistan (as per 2000 records), as well as the Tenasserim Hills (part of the Indo-Malayan mountain range)|
|Habitat||Dense forests where there is heavy rainfall, dense undergrowth, stream beds. Over-ripe fruits and tree sap attracts them the most.|
|Lifespan of Adults||Not Known|
|Host plant||In India: Urticaceae of the nettle family; Polygonaceae of the knotweed family; Rosaceae; In China: Dicliptera chinensis, Rostellularia pracumbens, and Strobilanthes; In Japan: S. glandulifera, S.flaccidifolius, S. tashiroi|
|Adult diet||Mostly rotten fruits found on the floors of the forest|
Did You Know
- In China, it is said to be rare and researches regarding its captive breeding is in progress
- They are mostly attacked by birds and assume a stationary posture falling into nearby foliage, taking the shape of a dried leaf when they sense impending danger.