All Eyes on You




A fifth member to this genus is the eyed pansy, Junonia orithya madagascariensis with striking blue on a black ground colour. The eyes or ocelli are more prominently marked on the female of the species of the yellow pansy, blue pansy and eyed pansy. They also prefer drier areas and can be seen throughout the Kruger National Park (KNP). All these pictured butterflies occur in the KNP.

Where did the name come from? In mythology the goddess Juno was known to possess a chariot that was drawn by peacocks. The peacock is known for the techni-coloured circular or eye-like pattern on the male's tail feathers. This is how the butterflies with many eyes or ocelli on their wings inherited the same scientific name as the peacock.

The scientific name for the peacock is also Junonia ales, like the butterfly's scientific genus name. Two of the original Junonia species the blue and yellow pansies have wing patterns and colours that closely resemble the flowers they are named for the pansy. This is then where they got their English names from. Yet two other species have been added to this genus as well; they are the brown pansy and the soldier pansy.

Previously they belonged to the commodore or Precis genus, but new findings had them re-classified. The scientific name for the brown pansy is Junonia natalica natalica and the soldier pansy is Junonia terea elgiva. These two butterflies prefer denser vegetation and can be found near waterways. The soldier pansy and brown pansy have sexes that display a very similar wing pattern design, with the female being slightly larger in size.

A fifth member to this genus is the eyed pansy, Junonia orithya madagascariensis with striking blue on a black ground colour. The eyes or ocelli are more prominently marked on the female of the species of the yellow pansy, blue pansy and eyed pansy. They also prefer drier areas and can be seen throughout the Kruger National Park (KNP). All these pictured butterflies occur in the KNP.

By Herbert Otto



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