Cephrenes augiades (C. Felder 1860)
Orange Palm Dart
(one synonym : Pamphila ulama Butler, 1870)
HESPERIINAE ,   HESPERIIDAE ,   HESPERIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Cephrenes augiades
(Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

This animal starts life as a cream hemispherical egg which develops red areas as it nears hatching. The egg is laid singly on the undersides of fronds of one of its foodplants, which are various species of Palms ( ARECACEAE ), especially :

  • Bangalow Palms ( Archontophoenix ),
  • Cabbage Tree Palms ( Livistona ), and
  • Date Palms ( Phoenix ).

    Cephrenes augiades
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The caterpillar when it hatches, is light green, with translucent smooth skin, and a prominent black head. As it develops, its head changes to grey with a faint pattern, and finally to white with a black V mark. It lives by day within a shelter made by using silk to join fronds of its foodplant, which conveniently fold together and bend across each other naturally. It feeds nocturnally, growing to a length of about 4 cms.

    Cephrenes augiades
    female
    caterpillar exposed by opening its shelter by breaking
    the pads of silk used to hold the folded leaf closed
    (Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The translucent skin enables the male and female caterpillars to be distinguished. The males have a yellow pair of developing sex organs visible through the skin at abdominal segment five.

    Cephrenes augiades
    later instar
    (Photo: courtesy of Dianne Clarke, Mapleton, Queensland)

    The caterpillar turns into a pupa within its palm shelter. As it forms the pupa, it creates a quantity of white chalky powder. The pupa has a length of about 3 cms. After about two weeks, the butterfly emerges.

    The species has different male and female forms for the adult butterflies.

    Cephrenes augiades
    Male adult
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The adult males have brown wings with large areas of orange markings. The abdomen of both sexes has brown and orange or yellow bands.

    Cephrenes augiades
    Male adult: natural posture
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Bownds, Frankston)

    Underneath, the markings are less pronounced, and the dark brown area is restricted to a patch along the inner margin of each forewing, and a spot near the tornus of each hindwing. This latter spot is not visible when the butterfly is in its normal resting posture.

    Cephrenes augiades
    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The females are slightly larger than the males, have more rounded wings, and are usually dark brown with a few sparse yellow marks. The females have some variation in colour, some specimens being light brown with orange markings just as extensive as those of a male. The wingspan of the female is about 4 cms. The male is somewhat smaller.

    Cephrenes augiades
    Female adult
    (Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    Other races of this species are found from Indonesia to the Solomons, including:

  • Papua.

    The subspecies sperthias Felder 1862, is found around the coast of mainland Australia, including

  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.

    Cephrenes augiades
    mating pair
    (Photo: courtesy of Todd Burrows, South Stradbroke Island, Queensland)


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 230-231.

    Baron Cajetan von Felder,
    Lepidopterorum Amboienensium species novae diagnosibus,
    Sitzungsberichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien,
    Volume 40, Part 11 (1860), p. 461, No. 51.


    previous
    back
    caterpillar
    Australian
    Australian Butterflies
    butterflies
    Australian
    home
    caterpillars
    Australian
    Australian Moths
    moths
    next
    next
    caterpillar

    (updated 21 August 2011, 22 September 2013, 26 July 2016)