November 20, 2009
The following pictures were taken at Kakum National Forest in Ghana on November 19, 2009. This area is the last remaining rainforest in Ghana. It is home to between 200,000 to 300,000 species of insects.
This sure looks like one of the Dead Leaf Butterflies in the genus Kallima to us. The classic Dead Leaf Butterfly is Kallima inachis from Asia, but upon doing some research, we learned there are representatives of the genus in East Aftrica. The International Wildlife Encyclopedia website indicates: “Dallima, from a Greek word meaning beautiful, is the generic name of certain butterflies belonging to the family Nymphalidae. … Kallima butterflies are also called leaf or more commonly, dead-leaf butterflies. They too are colorful, strong fliers, but upon closing their wings they are transformed. The several species of Kallima range from New Guinea through Southeast Asia and southern Asia to India and Sri Lanka. Some are found in tropical Africa. … In the Kallima butterflies the shape of the wings when closed over the back, together with the colors and pattern of their undersides, give the appearance of a dead leaf. Man members of the family have ‘tails’ on the rear margins of the wings. these are short and blunt[tipped. When a dead-leaf butterfly alights on a twig, the wings fold over the back and form a ‘stalk’ shape. The tip of the leaf is represented by the pointed, curved tips of the forewings as they lie together. Between this tip and the bogus leaf stalk runs a dark line, across both borewings and hind wings. which looks exactly like the midrib of a leaf.” Your other butterflies are in the same family, but we need additional time for identification.