Common Evening Brown: Quick Guide to Know This Butterfly

The Common Evening Brown is a fascinating butterfly species found throughout Asia, known for its unique characteristics and nocturnal behavior. Unlike many other butterflies that are active during the day, the Common Evening Brown makes the most of its evenings, thus earning its name.

This butterfly exhibits sexual dimorphism, meaning males and females have distinct appearances, with males showcasing a more brownish appearance, and females tending to be grayish-brown. Interestingly, this species also has two different seasonal forms – wet and dry season forms. The wet season form has bright, eye-catching patterns, while the dry season form is more subdued, making it a versatile and adaptable species.

Common Evening Brown: An Overview

Identification and Appearance

The Common Evening Brown (Melanitis leda) is a species of butterfly that belongs to the family Nymphalidae. This brown butterfly exhibits these key features:

  • Medium-sized with a wingspan of 53-63 mm
  • Brown or grayish-brown in color
  • Eye-like spots on the upper part of the wings

Some variations may exhibit a wet-season form and a dry-season form, giving them their unique appearance in different environments.

Distribution and Habitat

The Common Evening Brown can be found in a range of geographical areas:

  • Southeast Asia
  • Indian subcontinent
  • Australia

Typically, they inhabit various environments, such as:

  • Forests
  • Gardens
  • Agricultural fields

They can be compared to other brown butterflies, but their unique wing shape and eye-like spots on their wings help to distinguish them from similar species.

Feature Common Evening Brown Other Brown Butterflies
Size Medium (53-63 mm) Varies
Color Brown/Grayish-brown Brown shades
Distinct wing markings Eye-like spots Varies
Preferred Habitat Forests, Gardens Varies

In conclusion, the Common Evening Brown is a medium-sized butterfly with a brown or grayish-brown coloration, eye-like spots on their wings, and a wide distribution in various habitats. Their unique appearance and adaptability make them an interesting species to observe and study.

Life Cycle and Behavior

Eggs and Larvae

The life cycle of the Common Evening Brown (Melanitis leda leda) begins when the adult female lays eggs on the larval host plant. Some common larval host plants include:

  • Bamboo
  • Rice
  • Grasses

The eggs are small, white, and spherical. As the larvae hatch, they are covered in falcate setae, helping them blend in with the surroundings.

Pupation and Adult Stage

When the larvae are ready, they undergo pupation. The pupa is well-camouflaged and typically hangs under the host plant. There are two distinctive adult forms of the Common Evening Brown:

Wet-season form:

  • Dark brown with distinct eye-spots
  • A wingspan of 45-55mm

Dry-season form:

  • Lighter brown with less prominent markings
  • Smaller eye-spots

Here is a comparison table between the wet-season and dry-season forms:

Feature Wet-season form Dry-season form
Color Dark brown Lighter brown
Eye-spots Distinct Less prominent
Wingspan 45-55mm Similar to wet-season

The adult Common Evening Brown has intricately patterned wings that help it blend in with leaf litter during both the wet and dry seasons. This butterfly is known for its remarkable ability to adapt to different environments.

Adaptations to Seasons

The Common Evening Brown (Melanitis leda) is a species of butterfly belonging to the Nymphalidae family. It has some fascinating adaptations to the changing seasons. These adaptations allow it to survive and flourish in two distinct forms depending on the wet and dry seasons.

Wet Season Characteristics

  • Appearance: During the wet season, the Common Evening Brown exhibits a rich, dark color with intricate markings. The wings have a combination of black and yellow patterns adorned with eye-spots to deter predators.

  • Behavior: In this season, the butterflies are more active and can be seen flying in the late afternoon and evening.

Dry Season Characteristics

  • Appearance: In the dry season, the Common Evening Brown undergoes a transformation in its appearance. Dry season forms are lighter in color with less distinct markings, allowing them to camouflage effectively in the dry and brown environment.

  • Behavior: As resources become scarce during the dry season, the butterflies become less active and more focused on conserving energy.

A comparison of the key characteristics of Common Evening Brown in the wet and dry seasons:

Season Color Markings Activity Level
Wet Dark/rich Intricate/eye-spots High
Dry Light/brown Less distinct Low

In the wet season, the vibrant yellow and black markings, along with the distinctive eye-spots, make the Common Evening Brown truly stand out. In contrast, during the dry season, the butterfly needs to blend in with its surroundings and, as a result, takes on a more subtle appearance.

Feeding and Host Plants

Caterpillar Diet

The diet of a Common Evening Brown caterpillar primarily consists of various grasses. Some examples of these grasses include:

Adult Butterfly Diet

Adult Common Evening Brown butterflies feed on nectar. They are not picky and drink nectar from various types of flowers. One example of a flower they prefer is the white flower.

Here’s a comparison table of the diet of caterpillars and adult butterflies:

Stage Diet Example sources
Caterpillar Grasses Rice, corn
Adult Nectar Flowers of various colors

In summary, the Common Evening Brown caterpillars and adult butterflies have different diets, with caterpillars feeding on grasses and adult butterflies relying on nectar for sustenance.

Habitats and Distribution

Australia and South Asia

Common Evening Brown butterflies (Melanitis leda) can be found in various habitats such as forests, grasslands, and urban gardens. In Australia, they inhabit the northeastern region of Queensland and extend southwards to New South Wales. In South Asia, they are widely spread across countries like India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

A few examples of their preferred habitats include:

  • Moist deciduous forests
  • Coastal mangroves
  • Urban parks

Africa

In Africa, Common Evening Brown butterflies have a more limited distribution. They can be found in some parts of West Africa, mainly in areas with tropical and subtropical climates.

Common characteristics of their African habitats include:

  • Dense vegetation
  • Proximity to water sources
  • Availability of host plants for their larvae

Comparison Table: Australia and South Asia vs Africa

Region Distribution Climate Common Habitats
Australia and South Asia Wide distribution Tropical, subtropical Forests, grasslands, gardens
Africa Limited in West Africa Tropical, subtropical Dense vegetation, water sources, host plants

In conclusion, the Common Evening Brown butterfly has a diverse range of habitats across Australia, South Asia, and Africa, adapting to various environments in their search for survival.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Common Evening Brown butterfly is a fascinating species. Its unique features and characteristics make it an interesting subject for study and observation.

  • Distinctive appearance: Their brown wings, adorned with eye-like spots, make them easily identifiable in nature.
  • Habitat: They thrive in a variety of environments, from forests to gardens and grasslands.
  • Behavior: These nocturnal creatures are often active during the early morning and late afternoon, hiding during the day to avoid predators.
Features Common Evening Brown Other Butterflies
Active Time Early morning, late afternoon Daytime
Wings Color Brown Various colors
Eyespots Present Some species
Host Plants Grasses Various plants

Considering the Common Evening Brown’s unique characteristics, it offers a captivating look into butterfly diversity. This brief exploration should inspire further study, appreciation, and preservation of our world’s remarkable butterfly species.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Common Evening Brown from Australia is Unknown Caterpillar from Who Knows Where????

 

Can you tell me what type of caterpillar this is?
Hello
My little boy found this great caterpillar. Do you know what type he is and what he likes to eat. Thankyou
Cathou

Hi Cathou,
We actually tried to identify your mystery caterpillar, but did not get very far since we have no idea where it was found. We believe it is a species of Skipper in the family Hesperidae.

Thankyou for trying. I am in QLD and think we have identified it as a Nymphalide / melanitis leda. I appreciate your reply Cheers
cathou

Thanks for the update Cathou. We will link to a site with information on the Common Evening Brown, Melanitis leda.

Letter 2 – Common Evening Browns from Bangladesh

 

Subject: From Bangladesh with Bugs
Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh
November 18, 2016 9:04 am
Hello there.
We are two ecologists from Bangladesh who have started a small initiative (voluntarily)- that is to identify different species which live in our capital city Dhaka (urban biodiversity) using facebook group. We call it “Life in the midst of a concrete jungle”. The idea is that members will submit some photos and we will try to id them or find people who may help us. Sometimes, especially with arthropods its very difficult. Thus we are asking for your help. The quality of some of the photos may be quite bad for which it may be quite difficult. So even genus level would be quite good. Thank you in advance.
Regards,
Signature: Regards, Sate Ahmad & Mofiz Rahman

Common Evening Brown
Common Evening Brown

Dear Sate & Mofiz,
Your project sounds marvelous.  Both of your butterflies are in the family Nymphalidae, the Brush-Footed Butterflies, and they are characterized by having their first pair of legs atrophied and useless for walking, so they appear to have only four legs.  We started our search on the Butterflies of Bangladesh website, and we clicked through all the members of the family Nymphalidae before coming to the conclusion that at least one of your butterflies is a Common Evening Brown,
Melanitis leda.  According to the Butterflies of Bangladesh:  “Status: Very common. Habit and Habitat: Found in all types of habitat from grass land, cultivated land, bushes, homestead gardens, plain land forest to hill forests. In the day time it is hide with in dry leaves, which is difficult to identify. Become active before evening. Often seen come home attracted by light. Fond of rotten fruit and tree exudates.”  As you can see from the images on the Butterflies of Bangladesh site, this is a highly variable species.  We tried to find other examples online that more closely resembled the two images you submitted.  SambuiButterflies has an image with color and markings nearly identical to the image you provided of the Common Evening Brown resting on a leaf, a the site states:  “Not uncommon species with an enormous variety of underside patterns.”  Project Noah has an image that resembles the markings on the individual resting on the stucco wall.  We believe your moth is in the family Lasiocampidae.

Common Evening Brown
Common Evening Brown

Dear Mr. Marlos,
Thank you so much for this! We really appreciate it.
Regards
Sate & Mofiz

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Common Evening Brown from Australia is Unknown Caterpillar from Who Knows Where????

 

Can you tell me what type of caterpillar this is?
Hello
My little boy found this great caterpillar. Do you know what type he is and what he likes to eat. Thankyou
Cathou

Hi Cathou,
We actually tried to identify your mystery caterpillar, but did not get very far since we have no idea where it was found. We believe it is a species of Skipper in the family Hesperidae.

Thankyou for trying. I am in QLD and think we have identified it as a Nymphalide / melanitis leda. I appreciate your reply Cheers
cathou

Thanks for the update Cathou. We will link to a site with information on the Common Evening Brown, Melanitis leda.

Letter 2 – Common Evening Browns from Bangladesh

 

Subject: From Bangladesh with Bugs
Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh
November 18, 2016 9:04 am
Hello there.
We are two ecologists from Bangladesh who have started a small initiative (voluntarily)- that is to identify different species which live in our capital city Dhaka (urban biodiversity) using facebook group. We call it “Life in the midst of a concrete jungle”. The idea is that members will submit some photos and we will try to id them or find people who may help us. Sometimes, especially with arthropods its very difficult. Thus we are asking for your help. The quality of some of the photos may be quite bad for which it may be quite difficult. So even genus level would be quite good. Thank you in advance.
Regards,
Signature: Regards, Sate Ahmad & Mofiz Rahman

Common Evening Brown
Common Evening Brown

Dear Sate & Mofiz,
Your project sounds marvelous.  Both of your butterflies are in the family Nymphalidae, the Brush-Footed Butterflies, and they are characterized by having their first pair of legs atrophied and useless for walking, so they appear to have only four legs.  We started our search on the Butterflies of Bangladesh website, and we clicked through all the members of the family Nymphalidae before coming to the conclusion that at least one of your butterflies is a Common Evening Brown,
Melanitis leda.  According to the Butterflies of Bangladesh:  “Status: Very common. Habit and Habitat: Found in all types of habitat from grass land, cultivated land, bushes, homestead gardens, plain land forest to hill forests. In the day time it is hide with in dry leaves, which is difficult to identify. Become active before evening. Often seen come home attracted by light. Fond of rotten fruit and tree exudates.”  As you can see from the images on the Butterflies of Bangladesh site, this is a highly variable species.  We tried to find other examples online that more closely resembled the two images you submitted.  SambuiButterflies has an image with color and markings nearly identical to the image you provided of the Common Evening Brown resting on a leaf, a the site states:  “Not uncommon species with an enormous variety of underside patterns.”  Project Noah has an image that resembles the markings on the individual resting on the stucco wall.  We believe your moth is in the family Lasiocampidae.

Common Evening Brown
Common Evening Brown

Dear Mr. Marlos,
Thank you so much for this! We really appreciate it.
Regards
Sate & Mofiz

Authors

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  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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