Euploea alcathoe (Godart, [1819])
Striped Black Crow
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Euploea alcathoe
(Photo: courtesy of Martin Purvis, Sydney, New South Wales)

These Caterpillars are pale orange and have four pairs of black tentacles. Later instars develop a black and white pair of bands and several black bars on each abdominal segment. The caterpillars grow to a length of about 5 cms. They feed on :

  • Australian Rubber Vine ( Gymnanthera oblonga, APOCYNACEAE ).

    The pupa is brown with silver markings, and is suspended head downward by a cremaster. Its length is about 2 cms.

    Euploea alcathoe
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The adult butterflies of this species are black, fading somewhat towards the wing margins, and have arcs of white spots at each forewing apex, and around each hindwing termen. The undersides are similar. The females have a white stripe on the underside of each forewing along the hind margin. The wingspan is about 8 cms.

    Euploea alcathoe
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The eggs are green and bullet-shaped, with a height of about 1.5 mm. They are laid singly on the underside of young leaves and on the tendrils of a food plant.

    Various subspecies occur in

  • New Guinea and adjacent islands.

    Australia also has various subspecies including:

  • eichhorni Staudinger, 1884, occurs along the north Queensland coast,
  • enastri Fenner, 1991, occurs in the Northern Territory,
  • misensus Miskin, 1890, occurs in the Torres Strait, and
  • monilifera (Moore, 1883) occurs on Cape York in Queensland,

    but the caterpillars show some differences between these subspecies, so some may actually be separate species.

    Further reading :

    Jean Baptiste Godart,
    Histoire Naturelle Entomologie,,
    in P.A. Latreille & J.B. Godart :
    Encyclopédie Méthodique,
    Volume 9, Part 1 (1819), p. 178, No. 5.

    Peter Hendry,
    An introoduction to Crows of the World, the Euploeas (Lepidoptera: Danainae),
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 56 (March 2010), pp. 13-25,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    Trevor Lambkin,
    The life history of Euploea alcathoe monilifera (Moore) and its relationship to E. a. eichorni Staudinger (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Danainae),
    The Australian Entomologist,
    Volume 28, Part 4 (December 2001), pp. 129-136.

    Trevor Lambkin,
    Euploea alcathoe misenus Miskin (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae) in Torres Strait, Queensland,
    The Australian Entomologist,
    Volume 32, Part 4 (December, 2005), pp. 145-153.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 10 May 2008, 1 December 2013)