Scientific Note: Blending with the background: very unusual background-matching behavior of a caterpillar of Ariadne merione (Nymphalidae) in captivity


  • Sarika Baidya
  • Souparno Roy
  • Arjan Basu Roy


Background matching or camouflaging is a very common yet interesting behavior shown by different taxonomic groups. Background matching is a form of crypsis, which is an adaptive strategy against predation. Camouflaging through background mimicking is mostly reported in adults but recorded less frequently in early stages of development. In Lepidoptera, this behavior in the larval stage is extremely rare, observed in only a few moth species. There are some reported instances of larval polyphenism but there is no report of background mimicking in butterfly larvae. In this note, we are reporting a very interesting and probably the first instance of background matching of a caterpillar of Ariadne merione butterfly (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) in captive rearing where the caterpillar mimicked the color of the lid of the rearing box.