Elymnias agondas (Boisduval, 1832)
Palmfly
(previously known as : Dyctis agondas)
SATYRINAE ,   NYMPHALIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


male
(Picture: courtesy of CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences)

These Caterpillars are green with a yellow stripe along the back and yellow spots along each side. There are two black horns on the head, and two orange tentacles on the tail. The Caterpillars grow to a length of about 4 cms. They feed on various Palms ( ARECACEAE ) including

  • African Oil Palm ( Elaeis guineensis ), and
  • Lawyer Vine ( Calamus caryotoides ).

    They feed nocturnally, resting by day under a leaf.

    The pupa is green with yellow and blue spots, also with two horns on the head, and hangs head down from a cremaster.

    The male adult butterflies are black with a subterminal white arc on each wing, which is more extensive on the hindwings. The females have even larger white areas. The undersides are similar to the upper surfaces. Both sexes have an arc of black-ringed white spots along the termen of each hindwing, both on top and underneath. The wingspan of the butterflies is about 6 cms.

    It has been suggested that the patterns on the wings of this species have evolved to mimic those of the poisonous Taenaris and Hyantis butterfly species.

    Various subspecies occur, including :

  • glaucopis Staudinger, 1894, in New Guinea, and adjacent islands,
  • melanippe Grose-Smith, 1894, in Torres Strait,

    as well as

  • australiana Fruhstorfer, 1900, in Queensland on Cape York (Australia).


    Further reading :

    Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Dechauffour de Boisduval,
    Faune Entomologique de L'Ocean Pacifique,
    M. J. Dumont d'Urville:
    Voyage de Decouvertes de la Corvette l'Astrolabe,
    Division 7, Part 1 : Lepidopteres (1832), pp. 138-139, No. 2, and also Plate 3, fig. 5.

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 466-467.

    G.A. Wood,
    The life history of Elymnias agondas australiana Fruhstorfer (Lepidoptera:Nymphalidae),
    Australian Entomological Magazine,
    Volume 11 (1984), p. 3.


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    (updated 20 March 2004, 12 February 2013)