Can You See Me? The Blue Oakleaf Butterfly – A Master of Deception
By Dr. Neil Dan Fernandes

The Blue Oakleaf (Kallima horsfieldii), sometimes referred to the "Dead Leaf Butterfly" is well known for its amazing camouflage technique, which is based mainly on mimicry and deception. As a means of camouflage, the under-side of their wings bears a stunning resemblance a dead and dry withered leaf. Making the camouflage even more effective, is the Blue Oakleaf's habit of resting with it head facing downwards, so that it resembles a withered dead leaf hanging from the bark of a tree. If this deception fails, and when a predator approaches closer, it spreads out its wings and flies away quickly, startling the predator with the bright iridescent metallic-blue coloration on the upper-side of its wings. When these butterflies fly, because the angle of the light striking their wing changes, they continually change color from iridescent blue to dull brown. In flight, they seem to disappear, and only to reappear a short distance away, appearing as vanishing flashes of iridescent blue-brown. This ability to "change" color quickly makes it difficult for predators to pursue them and enables the butterfly to make a quick getaway to a nearby bush, where it once again blends right into its surroundings, resembling a dead and dry withered leaf!