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Common Name : Blue Pansy     -       Scientific Name : Junonia orithya       -       Other Name : Neela Pansaya (S), Nil Alankarikaya (S) Blue Argus, Eyed Pansy (E)

There are 26 subspecies recognized in the world of this wide spread nymphalidae butterfly. The sub species J. o. patenas is endemic to the country. Blue Pansy found from Africa through southern and south-eastern Asia to Australia.

The conservation status of this species is regarded as Near Threatened (National Red List 2012) and it is protected under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance as amended by Act No. 22 of 2009.

Other than in Wilpattu I have seen this beautiful species at Arippu, Mannar, Murunkan, Giant’s Tank, Haputale, Sigiriya and Bandarawela.

This butterfly will often settle on foot-paths and other open areas during late morning to early evening with their wings spread open. When you get close enough to get a photograph it would instantly fly a little further and drop down to the ground again enticing you to follow as if it’s a game. I remember photographing one close to giants tank in the mid day heat where I had to kneel down, get up and walk a few yards on twelve occasion before the teasing Blue pansy permitted me to get some worth while photographs. One has to practice great patience and perseverance in photographing this butterfly.

The female of this species is known to lay their eggs on two species of wild flowers referred to in Sinhala as Dutu Sathutu Centranthera indica and Tiny Slitwort Lindernia pusilla both of which are commonly found in Wilpattu.

Other than at Eluwankulam I have seen this butterfly in Wilpattu at Periya Villu and Kollan Kanattha.