Thursday, September 2, 2010

Evening Brown

Melanitis leda
My husband is a remarkable man. This butterfly flew across (or perhaps was blown, by the blustery August wind) in front of his car as he headed out the other morning. He stopped the car, ran into the house for his camera, headed out again, AND FOUND THE BUTTERFLY!
As those who have hunted this elusive creature know well, it is easy to see, on the wing when the bright russet of the wingtops is revealed, but can seem to disappear like magic as soon as it lands, even if you have had your eyes on it all the time.
This poor fellow was decidedly sad and battered. Below is a picture of a brand-new and beautiful one, taken a few years ago at Carnarvon Gorge.

We have never seen one at our place before, and think this one was lost and far from home.
Evening browns are secretive shade-lovers, usually seen flying low down in rainforest or scrub. The caterpillars are reared on native grasses, so for success this butterfly needs to have both environments close together.
Evening browns were probably once common in and around the area now covered by Toowoomba and its suburbs, and can still be found in the Murphy’s creek area. Here at the top of the Range, development has largely destroyed the environment it needs to live and breed.

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