Blue Pansy: Identification And Curious Facts

The Blue Pansy (Junonia orithya) is a butterfly that goes by many names. In Australia, they are the Blue Argus; in Africa, they are the Eyed Pansy. They belong to the Nymphalidae and love wide open spaces with plenty of sunshine.

Over 20 species of Blue Pansy butterflies live primarily in Africa, but there are also some in Australia and Asia, too.

Let’s take a closer look at this stunning beautiful butterfly.

Are Blue Pansies Rare?

No, the Blue Pansy is not a rare butterfly. However, they are very particular about their habitats. They are most common in Africa, but some subspecies reside in parts of Asia and Australia.

They prefer wide open spaces with full sun. During mating season, it’s not uncommon to see a grouping of male butterflies around a female. But outside of the mating season, these butterflies travel alone.

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How Did The Blue Pansy Get Its Name? 

Despite their name, Blue Pansy butterflies don’t dine on pansy flowers. So, where exactly do they get their name?

Their name comes from the unique coloring on their wings that resembles the shades of pansy flowers, like the vibrant blue Viola x wittrockiana.

What color are blue pansy butterflies? 

These butterflies aren’t a true blue. While they have light blue accents, they also have dark blotch markings on their hindwings and forewings.

And their reddish eye spots on the tip of their wings aren’t just for decoration – they help ward off predators!

Blue pansy butterfly
Blue pansy butterfly

How big are blue pansy butterflies? 

The wingspan of an adult butterfly is 2 to 3 inches. To put that into perspective, the Monarch butterfly has a wingspan of 3 to 4 inches. So, the Blue Pansy is just slightly smaller than a Monarch.

What is the host plant for the Blue Pansy Butterfly?

Some of the common host plants for the Blue Pansy butterfly include:

  1. Ruellia species (also known as wild petunias): In some regions, Blue Pansy caterpillars are known to feed on Ruellia species, which are flowering plants commonly found in tropical and subtropical areas.
  2. Hypoestes species: Blue Pansy caterpillars may also feed on plants belonging to the Hypoestes genus, including species like Hypoestes phyllostachya, commonly known as the polka dot plant.
  3. Other host plants: Depending on the region, Blue Pansy butterflies may use a variety of other host plants for their caterpillars, including members of the Acanthaceae family and other plant species that provide suitable food and habitat.

What Do Adult Blue Pansy Butterflies Eat?

Blue Pansy butterflies are not usually very selective in their choice of flowers, and they may visit a broad range of plant species for nectar.

Their ability to feed on various types of flowers contributes to their adaptability and wide distribution.

Blue Pansy
Blue Pansy

What is the relation between blue pansies and Kashmir?

In 2023, the Blue Pansy butterfly was declared the official butterfly of the Jammu and Kashmir region in India.

This region is home to some of the most stunning flora and fauna in the world, and that includes the Blue Pansy butterfly. While other species of this butterfly appear in various parts of the world, it’s a very popular butterfly in Kashmir.

Pansy Butterfly Types

Pansy butterfly is a common name for the various species in the genus Junonia. In addition to the Blue Pansy butterfly, other members of this genus include:

  • Yellow Pansy. Yellow pansies have bright yellow and black wings. They can be found in various parts of Africa and Asia.
  • Chocolate Pansy. Chocolate pansies have brown wings with white and black markings and are common in Southeast Asia.
  • Lemon Pansy. Lemon pansies have bright lemon-yellow wings with black accents. Like the Blue Pansy, they are common in Asia, Africa, and Australia.
  • Grey Pansy. The grey pansy is mostly greyish-brown with intricate patterns on their wings. They are common in parts of Asia and Australia.
  • Peacock Pansy. The peacock pansy has orange-brown wings with a peacock feather pattern. They are very common across Asia.

While they come in various shades and live in different regions, the different species of Pansy butterflies all resemble the pansy flower.

Fun fact about the Blue Pansy butterfly

Did you know that the eye spots on its hindwings are just for decoration? They serve a very important function in keeping these stunningly blue butterflies safe.

The eye spots on the wings resemble the dark eyes of a predator to make this butterfly look large and threatening.

When spotting by a predator at a glance, they confuse the eye spots as the eyes of a predator, and quickly move away!

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