Hypolimnas alimena (Linnaeus, 1758)
Blue-banded Eggfly
(erroneously: Hipolimnas alimena)
NYMPHALINAE ,   NYMPHALIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Hypolimnas alimena
(Photo: courtesy of Martin Purvis)

These Caterpillars are initially cream and are very hairy. Later they become black with black branched hairs. Their heads are dark brown and have a pair of long branched spines. The Caterpillars feed on various species from the plant family ACANTHACEAE, including

  • Love Flower ( Pseuderanthemum variabile ),
  • Coromandel ( Asystasia gangetica ), and
  • Caricature Plant ( Graptophyllum pictum ).

    The Caterpillars hide by day in ground debris, and feed at night. The are voracious, consuming whole plants and then searching for more.

    The pupa is dark brown with white patches and rows of sharp spines. It is suspended head down froma cremaster in a sheltered spot.

    Hypolimnas alimena
    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Graeme Cocks, Townsville, Queensland)

    The adult male butterflies are black on top, with a blue band across each wing, and a double row of subterminal pale spots. Underneath, the males are brown with a smoky pale band across each wing, and a subtermial row of pale spots, and pale edges.

    Hypolimnas alimena
    ( Australia Post, 2004)

    The females have an extra white flash or row of white spots across the tip of each forewing. The undersides of the females are similar to their upper surfaces.

    This species is found across south-east Asia, including :

  • India,
  • Indonesia,
  • New Zealand,

    and two subspecies are found in Australia :

  • lamina Fruhstorfer, 1903, along the north-east coast of Queensland, and
  • darwinensis Waterhouse & Lyell, 1914, in the Northern Territory.

    This butterfly is featured at Coffs Harbour Butterfly House.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 565-566.

    Dave St Henry,
    Blue-banded Eggfly,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 61 (June 2011), p. 33,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    Ross Kendall,
    Butterfly Larvae Images,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 57 (June 2010), p. 38,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    Carl Linnaeus,
    Insecta Lepidoptera,
    Systema Naturae,
    Volume 1, Edition 10 (1760), Class 5, Part 3, p. 478, No. 121.


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    (updated 1 December 2009, 8 December 2013)