I found this Chocolate Pansy Butterfly on a dried coconut palm leaf stack in our backyard. That evening I was trying to photograph using my Canon EOS 5D Mark III with Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM with Canon EF 2X II Extender. I wanted to find out how versatile this combination is with effective 140-400mm f/5.6 when you add 2X tele-convertor. All these photographs were taken handheld at ISO 1600 as light was low and I wanted a good Depth of field. I chose f/8 as i thought that is the sweet spot for this combo. But looking now I think I should have used still smaller aperture as one wing is slightly out of focus. Despite using tele-convertor the sharpness is not blunted as the 70-200 is very sharp lens to start with. Focusing was little slower. The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM Lens has a Minimum Focus Distance of 47.2″(120cm) with a Maximum Magnification of 0.21x at 200mm. Extenders do not affect the Minimum Focus Distance of the lens they are mounted behind, so the Maximum Magnification of the lens is also multiplied by 2x. So now the Maximum Magnification become 0.42x which is not really macro lens level magnification, but is decent enough for nice flower shots and tight butterfly portraits.
Chocolate Pansy Butterfly (Junonia iphita) belongs to Junonia genus of nymphalid butterflies. Taxonomically there was a lot of confusion between The genera Junonia and Precis. The genera Junonia and Precis are superficially very similar, but the genitalia differ consistently, as do the larval food plants. These are Lamiaceae in the solely African genus Precis, and Acanthaceae in Junonia. The Junonia is more widely distributed, and includes the Pansy butterflies of Africa & Asia, the Buckeyes of Central America and the USA, and the Soldiers and Commodores of the Oriental and Australian regions. Using the above definitions, Junonia comprises about 33 species, of which 11 occur in the Oriental region. Of these, 6 are found in India – Gray Pansy (Junonia atlites), Peacock Pansy (Junonia almana), Yellow Pansy (Junonia hierta), Chocolate Pansy (Junonia iphita), Lemon Pansy (Junonia lemonias) and Blue Pansy (Junonia orithya).
Chocolate Pansy (Junonia iphita) the most somberly colored of these species, and also one of the commonest and most widespread. The species ranges from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India to South China and through Malaysia to Lesser Sunda Island. Both sexes are very similar in appearance, but the female has slightly broader and more rounded wings. On the underside the wings are pale brown with a dark stripe, and look like a dead leaf. This species is very similar to its close relative Brown Pansy (Junonia hedonia) but the latter has a richer chocolate brown ground color and does not occur in India.
Junonia iphita is found mainly in degraded and disturbed forest habitats including palm plantations, small clearings, and along roadsides and riverbanks at elevations between sea level and at least 1200m. It also occurs in primary rainforest and temperate evergreen and deciduous forests. Both sexes are low flying, and spend long periods basking on herbage or on the ground. They are relatively easy to approach, and rarely fly far if disturbed. When not basking they tend to sit on the leaves of bushes or saplings, where they often remain motionless for several minutes even in hot sunny weather.
The eggs are pale green with 14 prominent vertical ribs, and are laid singly either on the food plant or on nearby twigs or dead leaves. The larva when fully grown is dull dark brown, and adorned with rows of multi-branched spikes along the back and sides. It feeds on a wide range of plants in the Acanthaceae including Justicia, Hygrophila, Lepidagathis, Asteracantha, Goldfussia and Strobilanthes. The chrysalis is dull brown with rows of tubercules along the back and sides. It is suspended by the cremaster from a leaf or twig. You can check Life cycle of Chocolate Pansy by Dr. K Saji
EXIF info – Aperture : ƒ/8 | Camera : Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Taken : 10 June, 2012 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 320mm | ISO : 1600 | Location : 13° 4.0267′ 0″ N 74° 59.7212′ 0″ E | Shutter speed : 1/250s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.