<< Previous Next >>

Indian Oakleaf

Indian Oakleaf
Photo Information
Copyright: Ram Thakur (ramthakur) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4316 W: 231 N: 14052] (56953)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2018-03-09
Categories: Insects
Camera: Sony Cyber shot HX50V
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2018-03-08 22:45
Viewed: 1570
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I got lucky today! This huge butterfly landed in my school campus for some mud-puddling at a spot where some repairs in the playground are underway and wet earth has been turned up. I had seen only the pictures of this butterfly, so it was my first encounter with this wonderful species. The picture was taken with my Sony compact camera.

Kallima inachus, the orange oakleaf, Indian oakleaf or dead leaf, is a nymphalid butterfly found in Tropical Asia from India to Japan. With wings closed, it closely resembles a dry leaf with dark veins and is a spectacular and commonly cited example of camouflage.


The butterfly wings are shaped like a leaf when in the closed position. When the wings are closed, only the cryptic underside markings are visible, which consists of irregular patterns and striations in many shades of biscuit, buff, browns, yellow, and black. The veins are darkened and resemble the veins of a leaf. The resemblance to a dried leaf, a masquerade, is extremely realistic and gives the genus its common names, the oakleaf or dead leaf.

When the wings are open, the forewing exhibits a black apex, an orange discal band and a deep blue base. There are two white oculi, one along the margin of the apical black band, and the other bordering the orange and deep blue areas. The hindwing is more uniformly blue but diffused with brown patches along the termen.

Male and female butterflies are similar except that the female is generally larger and has the apex of the forewing protrude to form a longer point. Females also tend to be more reddish on the underside and the yellow mottled markings tend to be paler. The butterfly exhibits polyphenism, i.e. there are specific dry-season and wet-season forms which differ in colouration and size; the wet-season form tends to be smaller.
The wingspan of the butterfly ranges from 85 to 110 millimetres (3.3 to 4.3 in)


The orange oakleaf is found in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar, down to Tenasserim Hills. In Southeast Asia it occurs in southern China, Thailand, Laos, Taiwan, and Vietnam. It has been also recorded from Pakistan in 2000.

In India, the butterfly flies in the Himalayas at low elevations, from Jammu and Kashmir, through Garhwal and Kumaon to West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and other states of the northeast. It is also found in central and peninsular India; it flies in Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh; i.e. along the central Indian highlands to Pachmarhi and Amarkantak, the Western Ghats south to Bhimashankar, and in the Eastern Ghats north of the river Godavari.

The status of the butterfly in India is "not rare", while in China, the butterfly is considered "rare".
The orange oakleaf is encountered up to an altitude of 1,800 metres (5,900 ft) in the hills; though Mark Alexander Wynter-Blyth records it as being encountered up to 8,000 feet (2,400 m) in regions of heavy rainfall in thickly forested mountainous and hilly regions. In the Kumaon Himalayas, K. inachus has been recorded to inhabit tropical deciduous forest between 400 and 1,400 metres (1,300 and 4,600 ft) and subtropical evergreen forest above 1,200 metres (3,900 ft). In a survey of Chongqing municipality, China carried out from 1998 to 2004, K. inachis was found to inhabit moist broad-leaf forests.


The orange oakleaf is a powerful flier and usually flies in dense forests with good rainfall, amongst undergrowth and along stream beds. It is attracted to tree sap and over-ripe fruit, and is also known to mud-puddle.

Much pursued by birds, when in danger the orange oakleaf flies erratically, soon dropping down into the foliage and occupying a stationary pose with wings closed, so that the birds are very often quite unable to find them. In such a pose, the butterfly resembles a dried leaf and is perfectly camouflaged.

The natural enemies of the orange oakleaf include birds, ants, spiders, wasps (including Trichogramma species), and some bacteria.


PS: I will upload in Workshop its picture with closed wings to show how it looks perfectly like a leaf for camouflage.

meyerd, marine-coeur, bluesky1975, peter_stoeckl, Hormon_Manyer has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

Hi Ram,
wow, not only you are lucky but we too from TN, so see this species with all the color and iridescence. And a schoolground for background, who would have thought that this could work. One mor hurrah for this Sony compact you used. My compliments, Ram.
Greetings, Dietrich

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2018-03-09 2:09]

Waaw Ram,very very lucky,a great way to start the new season of butterflies with this fantastic beauty! I'm very jealous...ehhee...and you caught this opportunity in a perfect way,fine detail everywhere and bright colors too,very well done! Have a nice weekend and thanks,Luciano

Another stunning image of nature colourful beauty and details also lights are excellent well done RAM THAKUR

Hello Sir,

This is one of the most stunning & beautiful butterfly that I have seen. Exemplary natural colors and the details. Superb picture. TFS!

Warm Regards,

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2018-03-10 10:11]

Hello Ram,
What a wonderful Beauty this butterfly. Perfectly shown with this beautiful
Kind regards

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2018-03-10 12:37]

Hello Ram,
Absolutely gorgeous butterfly with brightly colored wings and beautiful markings. A real treat to view on this cold wintry day here in Ohio.

  • Great 
  • periko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 70 W: 2 N: 145] (1487)
  • [2018-03-10 16:08]

Hi Ram
I had never seen before this species whose colors and pattern are a bit different.
Well seen and captured.


Dear Ram,
this is a truly exciting image of spectacular Kallima inachus. Precisely showing its boldly shaped wings, their magnificent pale blue iridescence in striking contrast to the orange band, you managed to capture the rare encounter of this shy, powerful, quick and determined flyer landed for mud-puddling in the short moment of wings spread amazingly well. Congratulations! Your demonstration of that spectacular butterfly's resting pose with its unbelievably perfect dry leaf camouflage in the workshop is very impressing, too. Thank you!
With best regards,

Hi Ram,
Wonderful species, amazing shape and colors. Marvellous meeting, you were lucky to see and photograph this beauty. Although the right wing is a little too closed to the edge of the frame, the ground's as sharp as the butterfly, but the composition's ok overall, lights are used well and the whole image, together with the personal note, is quite spectacular. Well done!
Kind regards from Ireland, László

Calibration Check