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silky owl butterfly

Taenaris dimona


This is one of the silky owl butterflies (Taenaris). This specimen has different eyespot markings than the most commonly seen species at this location (Taenaris cf. catops). "The species of Taenaris are whitish to grayish, some species with a yellow anal margin on the hindwing, and with prominent eyespots displayed on the hindwings. Some species feed on cycads and may be chemically defended, serving as models for Batesian mimicry in a variety of other groups (including Hyantis, Mycalesis, Hypocysta, Elymnias, and Hypolimnas). Most species occur in New Guinea and surrounding islands." (EOL). Based on an illustration in van Mastrigt et al (2010) and a corroborating comment below (by Jeff), I am going to call it T. dimona. However it is important to note that "Only in a few cases is identification to species possible from the pattern of the ocelli since these can be highly variable. All [species] are diurnal but appear to prefer the shade, feeding on rotten fruit on the forest floor." (Gotts and Pangemanan, 2001).


Observed alighting on various trees (mostly mango in this spotting) after feeding on a rotten fallen guava fruit. This was in a large semi-urban yard & garden near a disturbed patch of remnant forest. This is in the equatorial lowland tropics of northern New Guinea.


van Mastrigt, Henk, Mambrasar, Rinto & Ramandey, Euniche, 2010. Buku Panduan Lapagan Kupu-kupu. Untuk Wilayah Kepala Burung Termasuk Pulau-pulau Provinsi Papua Barat, Tim Redaksi Kelompok Entomologi Papua, 196 p. /--------------------------------------/ Gotts, R.I.C., and N. Pangemanan. 2001. Mimika butterflies: a guide to the butterflies of the Mimika subdistrict of Papua. PT Freeport Indonesia Biodiversity Centre, Timika, Indonesia.

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45 Comments (1–25)

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 7 years ago

Thanks Jeff. While I mentioned T. dimona in my description (and now taking into consideration its 8 Papua subspecies, and as you mention, thaema not being one of them) I've been playing it conservatively. I might end up going with T. dimona. But if species show enough variability in ocelli to be confusing, I am guessing that subspecies certainty might require more than the naked eye? I'd certainly like to obtain Parson's! :-)

JeffCrocombe 7 years ago

Looks identical to Taenaris dimona thaema in Parson's Butterflies of New Guinea. Distribution would be wrong for this subspecies however & I don't know which subspecies occur in your area. (Supposedly there are 13 ssp.) I would put money on it being this species though.

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 7 years ago

Thanks Francesca

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 7 years ago

Thanks Rosa!

Rosa Maria
Rosa Maria 7 years ago

Awesome and Congrats!!

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 7 years ago

Thanks Noel!

Noel Buensuceso
Noel Buensuceso 7 years ago

Great series, Scott! Congratulations!

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 7 years ago

Thanks DrNamgyal and Mac!

MacChristiansen 7 years ago

Congratulations Scott on your SOTD.

DrNamgyalT.Sherpa 7 years ago

Congrats Scott Frazier for the SOTD, and what a spotting!

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 7 years ago

wow thanks, kd, Leana, António, Sachin & Leuba!

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 7 years ago

I love the faint pink blush in the hind wing - lovely. Congratulations, Scott !

Sachin Zaveri
Sachin Zaveri 7 years ago

Congratulations !!

Congrats again on the very well deserved SOTD

Congrats Scott!

kdpicturemaker 7 years ago

It's a lovely butterfly, congratulations on SOTD.

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 7 years ago

Thanks so much dotun55, shekainah, Carol & Reza!

Congrats Scott !

Carol Snow Milne
Carol Snow Milne 7 years ago

WOW! Scott! Great series and so great with the information.

Cool one scott.

dotun55 7 years ago

The blend of black and white with just few eye spots makes this one extraordinary. Stunning owl!

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 7 years ago

Thanks Viv, Mark and Satyen!

Wild Things
Wild Things 7 years ago

Congrats Scott!

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 7 years ago

Congratulations on a silky SOTD.

VivBraznell 7 years ago

Well done Scott .. a very worthy winner : )

Scott Frazier
Spotted by
Scott Frazier

Papua, Indonesia

Spotted on Mar 27, 2014
Submitted on Mar 27, 2014

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