Don Herbison-Evans (
(Photo: courtesy of Ross Kendall,
Butterfly Encounters, Indooroopilly, Queensland)
These Caterpillars are green with indistinct longitudinal lines. Initially they are sparsely covered in long thin hairs, but later instars are sort of fuzzy. They have a forked tail which is quite harmless.
The Caterpillars feed on various species of :
which are tall sedges with sharply edged leaves. The Caterpillars grow to a length of about 6 cms.
The pupa is green with a yellow line around the developing wings. It is suspended head down, by a cremaster, from a leaf of its food plant.
The wings of the adult butterflies are brown with a broad yellow stripe diagonally across each forewing. The forewings also each have two eyespots, one large and one small, and the hind wings have one eyespot each.
The undersides are similar, except that each wing has two eyespots. The butterflies have a wingspan of about 6 cms.
The species is found along the south-eastern coastal strip of Australia, from Gympie, through Victoria, to Adelaide, in which area several subspecies have been recognised :
Further reading :
Michael F. Braby,
Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 523-525.
Varied Swordgrass Brown Butterfly, Tisiphone abeona (Donovan, 1805) - a personal and historical perspective. Butterfly and Other Invertebrates Club Newslettter, Issue 49 (June 2008), pp. 4-9.
Chris J. Muller,
New Gahnia Forst. & Forst. F. food plant records for Hesperilla ornata ornata (Leach) and Tisaphone abeona regalis Waterhouse (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae and Nymphalidae) in New South Wales. Australian Entomological Magazine, Vol. 19, Part 4 (1992) p. 102.
(updated 22 April 2009)