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The Grey Pansy Butterfly

Updated on June 28, 2012

Junonia atlites


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.

© Copyright 2012 by Oceansnsunsets. All Rights Reserved.

Video of Grey Pansy Butterfly Eating Fruit

Grey Pansy Butterfly Poll

Have you ever observed a butterfly that might have been a Grey Pansy?

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    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Mecheshier, thanks for your comment, and votes. I really appreciate it and am so happy to share the information and picture of the grey pansy.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello FcMosher, I actually thought the grey pansy was a white peacock at first! I love them both, and feel lucky to see them whenever I can. Thanks for your comment.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Cmhypno, thank you for your comment about my photo of the Grey Pansy butterfly. I don't have many, or I would have shared more. That one on the top posed perfectly, and I got lucky. I hear you, about trying to get their photo, only to have them shut their wings or flutter away. I keep at it, as I love them so much.

      I appreciate your comment, and hope your weekend ahead is wonderful.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Mary, butterflies are so wonderful, aren't they? Like little flying miracles in nature! I love that you are trying to share the information about milkweed and monarchs. That is a wonderful thing!

      Thank you for your comment, and have a wonderful weekend! Glad to share about a butterfly you hadn't heard about before.

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 5 years ago

      Beautiful! Nice pics and info. Thank you for sharing. Voted up for beautiful.

    • fcmosher profile image

      FCM 5 years ago from near the Equator

      Nice photos. There's a similar butterfly, the white peacock, here in the southern United States.

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 5 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      This is a very pretty butterfly oceansnsunsets and great photos. I have tried to take photos in a butterfly farm, but they always close their wings or flutter off just at the worng moment!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      You and I share a love for the butterfly. I have never even heard of this one. I learned something new tonight. I am trying to make people aware of the Monarch and it's need for milkweed. I voted this Hub UP, etc.