Observation of dry season polyphenism in Melanitis leda at different altitudinal gradients in Nepal

  • Bhaiya Khanal Natural History Museum,Tribhuvan University, Swayambhu, Kathmandu
Keywords: wet season form, dry season form, satyrid, elevation, eye spots


Melanitis leda, a shade loving Satyrid is distributed in tropical to temperate parts of the country. Wet Season Form of this butterfly displays paler wings, prominent eyespots and distinct under wing markings. Dry Season Form remains camouflaged with dry leaf litters mostly in undisturbed parts of the forest floor. This form has diminished eyespots with varying underwing markings. The gradient effect varies location wise which can be assumed to develop different phenotypic forms in this species. Nine such forms of Melanitis leda included in this study were recorded from different forest types of Nepal.


Download data is not yet available.


BRAKEFIELD, P M; FRENCH, V (1999) Butterfly wings: the evolution of development of colour patterns. BioEssays 21: 391–401.

BRAKEFILED, P M (1987) Tropical dry and wet season polyphenism in the butterfly Melanitis leda (Satvrinae): phenotypic plasticity and climatic correlates. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 31:175–191.

BRAKEFIELD, P M; LARSON, T B (1984) The evolutionary significance of dry and wet season forms in some tropical butterflies. Biol J Linn Soc 31: 175–191.

DOUGLAS, M J; GRULA, W (1978) Thermoregulatory adaptations allowing ecological range expansion by the Pierid butterfly, Nathalis iole Boisduval. Evolution 32(4): 776. DOI: 10.2307/2407493.

ISLAM, A T M F; RZZAK, M A; ISLAM, M H; SAIFULLAH, A S M; ENDO, K; YAMANAKA, A (2010) Dry and wet season polymorphism in the butterflies, Melanitis leda and Mycalesis mineus (Satyridae: Lepidoptera). Univ J Zool Rajshahi University 29: 33–40.

KHANAL, B; SMITH, C (1997) Butterflies of Kathmandu Valley. TecPass Press, Bangkok, Thailand.

SULTAN, E; SABAT, D; SAHU, B B; MISHRA, M (2016) Structural variations in wing patterning of seasonal polyphenic Melanitis leda (Satyrinae). Microscopy Research 4: 47–54.

TAUBER, M J; TAUBER, C A (1986) Seasonal adaptations of insects. Oxford, U. K.: Oxford University Press, U. K.

VALVERDE, V; SCHIELZETH, H (2015) What triggers colour change? Effects of background colour and temperature on the development of an alpine grasshopper. BMC Evolutionary Biology 15(1): 168.

WALIA, V K (2001) Seasonal occurrence of Melanitis leda ismene (Cramer), Satyridae: Lepidoptera with comments on its dry and wet season forms. Miscellaneous notes, Journal of Bombay Natural History Society 99(1): 137–138.

How to Cite
Khanal, B. (2018). Observation of dry season polyphenism in Melanitis leda at different altitudinal gradients in Nepal. Journal of Natural History Museum, 30, 306-311. https://doi.org/10.3126/jnhm.v30i0.27606