Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chocolate Soldier

A Chocolate Soldier photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
A Chocolate Soldier photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

The Chocolate Soldier is a common butterfly found in Asia. It is also known as the Chocolate Pansy. These butterflies are territorial and they spend a lot of time close to the ground. I found a number of them in Anuradhapura and they were all, rather surprisingly, within three feet of the ground. More info and images after the jump.



A Chocolate Soldier photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
A Chocolate Soldier photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

The wingspan of the Chocolate Soldier is around 5 - 6cm. The depth of the brown colour on the upper-sides of both the male and the female vary. The females can be identified by the white markings on the oblique line on the underside of the hind wing.

A Chocolate Soldier photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
A Chocolate Soldier photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

This butterfly lays its eggs on the ground or on dry twigs in close proximity to host plants. Once the larvae have hatched, they find their way to the host plants. It is unusual that the butterfly does not lay eggs on the host plants themselves. The larvae are a dark, dull brown in colour. 

A Chocolate Soldier photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
A Chocolate Soldier photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka


Surprisingly these butterflies didn't mind my presence as they let me get very close to photograph them. I used the 100-400mm lens on the 7D. I feel I would have been able to get closer to it but was constrained because of the minimum focusing distance on the lens.
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6 comments:

Wilma said...

Their wings and bodies look so soft and velvety. Chocolate pansy is a very apt name for them.

holdingmoments said...

Lovely markings on them Dev.

Me-shak said...

May be thats why they have evolved to be that wonderful brownish color, since they live so close to the ground. I'm no butterfly expert but I didn't know they lay eggs on the ground :O Lovely post Dev and also very informative. Looking forward for more.

Cheers!

Dev Wijewardane said...

Thanks for dropping by.

Sean said...

Amazing as always Dev.

Love the first one in particular... I think these Chocolate Soldiers look best on the ground.

Dev Wijewardane said...

Thanks Sean. I agree, the contrast between the wings and the ground seems to work well.