A medium sized dark orange butterfly with a wingspan of 60-80 mm. The upper side of both sexes are a dark brownish orange with a large number of black spots. Both sexes have a submarginal band of spots on the hind wing. In the female, the apex is almost back and has a white subapical band. The black area of the apex often carries a bluish sheen, and in some specimens there is a pinkish wash towards the base of the wings. The underside has white, black and olive green markings. This species frequently shows up aberrations.
The male resembles the Common Leopard, but is much larger. The female resembles the Plain Tiger.
Status, distribution and habitat
A high elevation species that occurs above 3000 feet. It is not uncommon along the edges of tea fields bordering forests that support its larval food plant violet. It is most abundant in April.
The male is more abundant than the female and may be seen day after day in the same location. It often settles on gravel roads through tea estates or forests. Its flight is very similar to that of the Common Leopard. However, unlike like the Common Leopard, it does not incessantly move its wings when settled. The female flies slower than the male and mimics the Plain Tiger. It is common to see it fly in and out of tea bushes in neglected weedy plantations in search of violets, its larval food plant. This is a hill topping species and may be seen in fair numbers on top of hills.
The eggs are laid singly on the leaves of violet, which is its only known larval food plant in the island.
The one shown here is a male.