The Grey Pansy Butterfly
The Grey Pansy Butterfly
The Gray or Grey Pansy Butterfly is also known as Junonia atitles, and is from the Nymphalidae Family. The subfamily is Nymphalinae.
This is a tropical butterfly, so those of us living outside of Sri Lanka and Singapore won't be seeing them often in the great outdoors where we are. However, I was lucky enough to capture the photo above in a tropical butterfly conservatory not too far from where I live. I don't have many pictures of them, obviously, or I would be sharing them here. I hope to capture more photos of them in the future however.
Of the four Pansy butterflies, the Grey Pansy is the rarest, evidently. You can sometimes find them fluttering by in the warm bright sunlight, especially near open grassy areas. If there are flowering bushes, they like those all the more.
The wingspan of this pretty butterfly is anywhere from 55 to 65 mm across. As for what they like to eat, the Grey Pansies love to eat fruit, as you observe in the video below. I have seen photos of the grey pansy also feasting on the nectar from flowers, as is true for many butterflies. If there are some tropical flowers nearby, they will likely visit them as they are able.
The caterpillars have been known to feed on Hygrophila. The parent butterfly lays its eggs on the appropriate host plants, so that upon hatching, the little caterpillars have food to eat right away and grow so they can get to their next stage in life.
The main color is grey of course, but I have seen also cream, white, black, brown, tan, and a bit of almost orange color on some of the spots that look a bit like eye spots sometimes, which can help with keeping some predators at bay or at least confused enough to miss out on a meal made by these sweet little butterflies. One description give these butterflies as having a pink and black ocelli. As with many butterflies, the undersides are much more pale, which helps to aid in camouflage for protection. Flashing its wings open on other occasions allows others of its kind to find each other.
For a long time, this butterfly confused me. I thought it was a white peacock butterfly, based on a couple of my publications, and even wrote about it being a white peacock. I had another person kindly share what they thought it was, and after further looking, realized that this is indeed a grey pansy butterfly. So now, I have that all cleared up and I am so glad.
With all my collection of books and information on butterflies over the years, I am amazed more isn't written about these lovely little creatures.
The Grey pansy is a perfect name really, when you look at the wings. The coloring isn't too much to write home about, but it is beautiful all the same.
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