The Gray Baron butterfly, this
male butterfly is not sunbathing, he is drinking.
For several days now I have admired lovely bluish
butterflies visiting our Malabar blackmouth (Melastoma malabathrica,
Melastomataceae). They do not care about the blossom, but like human
children and sooty-headed bulbuls they can not resist the black fruits.
Browsing the butterfly book and trying to identify the
butterfly by using the memory of a glimpse was not enough. Using my old
butterfly net I caught a shabby old male and sat down before breakfast. I
held the body (thorax) between my fingers. This part of the insect contains
all the muscles for the four wings and six legs, and although the muscles
are protected by the exoskeleton you can clearly feel how strong the
butterfly is. It is like holding a living fish, vibrating of life of
This butterfly turned out to be a ‘Gray baron’
(Euthalia anosia anosia, Nymphalidae). The male is characterized by strongly
and elegantly falcate wing tips, absence of any white or red spots and a
gorgeous misty blue colour on the forewings which Pisuth Ek-Amnuay describes
as ‘mottled greenish gray’ in his eminent book on Thai butterflies. The
female has a series of decorative white spots on its forewings. The
undersides have clear patterns as drawn with black ink on a silvery gray
This species is new to Dokmai Garden but previously
reported from Chiang Mai. I found no information about its larva and what
plant it eats, so we have to keep exploring.
My only problem is the English name, ‘Gray baron’. To
me the butterfly appears blue, and ‘gray’ does not give justice to the
beauty of the butterfly. I think something more distinguished would be
appropriate. It looks old and clad with lichens, so why not ‘Forest baron’?