Euploea alcathoe (Godart, [1819])
No-brand Crow
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Euploea alcathoe
(Photo: courtesy of Andrew Allen, Mission River, Queensland)

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 various plants in APOCYNACEAE including:

  • Australian Rubber Vine (Gymnanthera oblonga),
  • Bush Banana (Marsdenia australis),
  • Oleander (Nerium oleander),
  • Spiral Milkvine (Parsonsia alboflavescens),

    as well as

  • Small-leaved Fig (Ficus obliqua, MORACEAE).

    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 across south east Asia including

  • India,
  • New Guinea.

    Australia also has various subspecies including:

  • eichhorni Staudinger, 1884, occuring along the
    north Queensland coast,

  • enastri Fenner, 1991, occuring in the
    Northern Territory,

  • misensus Miskin, 1890, occuring in the Torres Strait, and

  • monilifera (Moore, 1883) occuring 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),
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 56 (March 2010), pp. 13-25.

    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, 16 June 2020)