21 December 2023

Blue Pansy – Salwa

Whilst birdwatching the Salwa area, near the Qatar border, I came across a Blue Pansy Butterfly Junonia orithya which is native to Africa as well as parts of Asia and Australia and is also called the Eyed Pansy in Africa and in Australia the Blue Argus. Butterflies belonging to the family Nymphalidae are few in Saudi Arabia although are quite conspicuous. They include Blue Pansy that is a migratory butterfly, and they appear sporadically, produce one or more local broods of offspring, and then disappear again until their next invasion. Their success in establishing themselves temporarily within the region depends very much upon their powers of adaptation and choice of larval food-plants. The adults occur in open areas, often sitting on bare ground. This species has a stiff flap and glide style of flight and maintains a territory, driving away other butterflies that enter it. The upper side of the forewing for the male is black to dark brown with a whitish sub-apical band, two orange and two blue bars in the cell, and two post-discal eyespots. The hindwing of the male is brilliant blue with orange post-discal eyespots. The female is similarly marked but with a much duller hue. Underneath, both sexes are grayish brown with cryptic orange/brown markings and have eyespots similarly placed as on the upper side. The butterfly was in a small set off allotments in an area I saw them in March. This set of allotments is very good for butterflies and plenty of Clouded Yellow were also flying around.