Blue or chocolate?

The morning was still cool when I saw this butterfly settle on a flower. I was in the garden of the state tourism guest house in Uttarkhand’s Manila, not far from Almora. I haven’t looked at butterflies for several years. I couldn’t decide immediately whether I should think of this as a blue tiger (genus Tirumala) or a chocolate tiger (Parantica melaneus). Now looking at it and comparing it with confirmed photos of blue tigers, I’m pretty certain it is not one of those. The colour of the hindwings makes it clear that it is the chocolate tiger. There is some variation in them: in some the veins in the front wings can also be chocolate or chestnut coloured. But the blue tiger never has that colour in the upper surface of its wings. I was happy with the photo. Now I’m happy with the identification.

Butterflies before breakfast

I was trying to trace a persistent error message in my camera and eventually found that it was due to a lost set of photos taken two years ago. I’d taken them during an early morning walk to look for birds inside Nameri national park, on the border between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. On the way back we saw a large number of butterflies in a space of about 15 minutes. I managed to photograph a few of them. This is what biodiversity means!