Nature holds a ton of surprises, which it proves once again. Even with all our years of exploration and discovery, we are nowhere close to knowing all that lies in the bosom of nature. Take, for example, this leaf butterfly. This rare insect was caught on camera recently. When it was posted online, netizens were extremely surprised at seeing a dead dry leaf start moving!
A Dead Leaf Flying!
The video does not have a date. However, it was posted in the account of Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw who is an Executive Chairman at Biocon Limited. The video, posted on Twitter, shows a person being curious about a leaf that had fallen to the ground. Viewers can hear his excited voice, but he is only pointing to a dry leaf. Then, he notices an unusual thing. He starts fanning the leaf using his hands and catches what unfolds on his mobile’s video camera.
Natural camouflage – a survival mechanism pic.twitter.com/IY2suGfkuN
— Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (@kiranshaw) June 8, 2021
Suddenly, the dead leaf moves on its own! A vibrant leaf butterfly took the place of the leaf. As soon as the leaf butterfly spreads its wings, it flies into the air. Its forewings have a pattern colored mustard yellow which contrasts sharply against its exterior parts colored black.
Shaw, seeing the capabilities of the leaf butterfly, pointed out that it was a natural camouflage – a mechanism that helps the leaf butterfly survive. There were several nature enthusiasts who saw the Twitter post and immediately made a correct identification. The official name of the insect is the Indian oakleaf butterfly while the scientific name is the Kallima inachus. The common name is simply orange oakleaf butterfly.
Enthusiasts also usually call simply “dead leaf”. A user wrote that the color of the leaf butterfly changes according to the seasons. The user also explained that the butterfly is in the running for being the Indian national butterfly. Its other competitors are the Indian Jezebel and the Krishna Peacock. The viral Twitter video did not take much time to end up on Facebook. Users on both platforms were left fascinated as they saw the unique insect. Many admitted that it was their first time seeing the insect.
More About The Unique Leaf Butterfly
Some were marveling at how the body of the butterfly is in the middle of the “leaf” and not the extremities. Others got scared and worried that they might have killed some when they were stepping on dry leaves unknowingly. They vowed to be more careful, and we should probably keep an eye out as well.
The leaf butterfly’s vibrant wings make it easy to spot when it is flying. However, its wings fold up in a unique style to create camouflage. The veins of its wings are different from those in usual butterflies as well, making them more similar in appearance to the ones of leaves. The insect is not a very active one. On finding a feeding spot, it prefers to stay there until the food runs out, or there is a threat. However, it is not a very fast or strong flyer. As such its flight pattern is erratic which also makes the butterfly a difficult prey for birds.
These butterflies are found in the Asian tropical rainforests, especially prominent in India, China, and New Guinea. It does not always have to lay down as just hanging from the branch also blends it in just as much. Unlike most species of butterfly, it prefers fallen fruit to the nectar in flowers. It also drinks leaking tree sap.
As a final note, the Orange Leaf Butterfly has officially been chosen as the National Butterfly of India. An honorable title for an amazing insect!