Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Butterfly Colours - Brown

One of my favourite colours, browns are some of the oldest colours in art, with umbers and siennas (clay pigments that derive their shades from iron oxide) being the amongst the first pigments that humans have used. Brown is also very common in butterflies, providing camoflage against predators. Some butterflies from the families Lycaenidae (the Blues) and Satyrnidae (the Browns, Arguses and Morphos) have beautiful variations of brown on their undersides and blues, purples or greens on their uppersides, which are concealed when the insect folds its wings upright. The colour of earth, bark and skin, brown is perhaps the true colour of nature, even though the brighter and somehow more charismatic green has been universally associated with it. Brown has also been tied to humility - perhaps one reason it was the party colour of the Nazi Party, which targeted the middle and working classes

(Left to Right, top to Bottom)

Common Disc Oakblue (Arhopala epimuta)
Dark Brand Bush Brown (Mycalesis mineus)
The Knight (Lebadea martha parkeri)
The Plane (Bindahara phocides)
King Crow (Euploea phaenareta)
The Saturn (Zeuxidia amethystus)
Bamboo Tree Brown (Lethe europa)
Chocolate Sailor (Neptis harita)
Starry Bob (Iambrix stellifer)


  1. Great to have you back blogging. I am looking forward to reading about the butterflies you see over there. There are some really beautiful brown butterflies, but I have to admit that I prefer more colourful species. Scotland tends to be very brown over winter, so green is my favourite colour as it reminds me of spring!

    1. PS. Forgot to say, that Common Disc Oakblue is spectacular!

    2. Hi Nick, I'll be sure to put one up with green butterflies soon! Great that you like the oakblue. There is a frustratingly large number of very similar oakblues in South East Asia. I really like their iridescent blueish eyes.