Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chocolate Soldier

A Chocolate Soldier photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
A Chocolate Soldier photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

The Chocolate Soldier is a common butterfly found in Asia. It is also known as the Chocolate Pansy. These butterflies are territorial and they spend a lot of time close to the ground. I found a number of them in Anuradhapura and they were all, rather surprisingly, within three feet of the ground. More info and images after the jump.



A Chocolate Soldier photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
A Chocolate Soldier photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

The wingspan of the Chocolate Soldier is around 5 - 6cm. The depth of the brown colour on the upper-sides of both the male and the female vary. The females can be identified by the white markings on the oblique line on the underside of the hind wing.

A Chocolate Soldier photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
A Chocolate Soldier photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

This butterfly lays its eggs on the ground or on dry twigs in close proximity to host plants. Once the larvae have hatched, they find their way to the host plants. It is unusual that the butterfly does not lay eggs on the host plants themselves. The larvae are a dark, dull brown in colour. 

A Chocolate Soldier photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka
A Chocolate Soldier photographed in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka


Surprisingly these butterflies didn't mind my presence as they let me get very close to photograph them. I used the 100-400mm lens on the 7D. I feel I would have been able to get closer to it but was constrained because of the minimum focusing distance on the lens.

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