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The Common Earl, a butterfly with green eyes!

Common Earl (Tanaecia julii odilina) male
Common Earl (Tanaecia julii odilina) male

The Common Earl (Tanaecia julii), as the name suggests, is a relatively common butterfly with a wide distribution, including India, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, China, West Malaysia and Sumatra.  It is a butterfly I see regularly whilst walking in Doi Suthep–Pui National Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand, and all of these photographs were taken there, at different times.

Common Earl (Tanaecia julii)
Common Earl (Tanaecia julii) male

There are three subspecies, but the one which occurs in Chiang Mai province is Tanaecia julii subsp. odilinia (1).  The males have lovely chocolate-brown coloured wings, with a broad blue margin on the hind wing.  They look to me like they have been dipped in blue paint!

Common Earl (Tanaecia julii) male
Common Earl (Tanaecia julii) male

The females are slightly larger, with prominent white marks or spots on the forewing and no blue band on the hindwing.  As if to compensate, they have more blue than the males on the undersides of their hindwings!  See below.

Common Earl (Tanaecia julii odilinia) female
Common Earl (Tanaecia julii odilinia) female

The females are often seen perched on a leaf, enjoying the sunshine, and perhaps waiting for a suitable mate to come along?

Common Earl (Tanaecia julii odilinia) female Doi Pui 3
Common Earl (Tanaecia julii odilinia) female

What is striking about both sexes of this butterfly, are their lovely green eyes! The males often rest on foliage in the sunshine, where they are relatively easy to photograph, although they do fly off easily if disturbed. They also have a green proboscis to match their eyes!

Common Earl (Tanaecia julii odilina) male
Common Earl (Tanaecia julii odilina) male

1)  Butterflies of Thailand by Pisuth Ek-Amnuay.  ISBN 978-9742891862

rcannon992 View All

I am an entomologist with a background in quarantine pests and invasive invertebrates. I studied zoology at Imperial College (University of London) and did a PhD on the population dynamics of a cereal aphid (Metopolophium dirhodum) in the UK. I spent 5 years with the British Antarctic Survey studing cold hardiness of Antarctic invertebates and 17 years with the Food and Environment Research Agency. My main interests now are natural history, photography, painting and bird watching.

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