Sunday, 26 July 2015

34. Melanitis leda leda (The Common Evening Brown)

Number: 34
Family: Nymphaliidae
Sub-Family: Satyriinae
Species: Melanitis leda leda (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common name(s): The Common Evening Brown
Photography locations: Hanoi City, Tam Dao (Vinh Phuc Prov.)

Butterflies in the genus Melanitis are commonly known as Evening Browns due to their crepuscular behaviour. 
Melanitis leda is subject to a wide range of variation in the underside colouration and patterning, and exhibits pronounced seasonal dimorphism. The wet season morph is pale brown with numerous dark striations and prominent ocelli. In the dry season morph the ocelli are greatly reduced or may be entirely absent, and the ground colour varies from grey to light brown, with dark markings.

The genus Melanitis is represented in Vietnam by 3 species - leda, phedima and zitenius (Monastyrskii & Devyatkin, 2016), the latter much less frequent than the two others. 

Melanitis leda, wet season form (Tam Dao foothills, June 2016)
UnH display 5 prominent ocelli except a smaller spot in space 5

Wet season form, feeding on tree sap (Hanoi, May 2014)

Dry season form (Tam Dao, October 2016)
Very cryptic against a leaf litter background!

A supposed intermediate form (Hanoi, October 215)

Two different pattern of dry season form, underside

Upperside of both sexes is light brown with a black spot near apex of forewing in space 3 containing a white spot inside, another one above it in space 4, and surrounded by an orange area

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