Plain Tiger or Lesser Wanderer
(one synonym : Limnas bowringi Moore, 1883)
DANAINAE, NYMPHALIDAE, PAPILIONOIDEA
(Photo: courtesy of Jutta Godwin, Cubberla-Witton Catchments Network, Brisbane, Queensland)
This species was probably named after the philosopher Chrysippus of ancient Greece.
The Caterpillar of this species is banded with black and yellow, and has yellow spots all over. It also has three pairs of filaments which in later instars have red bases.
The caterpillar feeds on various plants that have a poisonous milky sap. The caterpillar appears to retain the poisons in its body making it unpalatable to predators.
In Australia, its foods are all from the Milkweed family ( APOCYNACEAE ), and include :
The Caterpillar grows to a length of about 3 cms.
The pupa hangs by its tail from a leaf of the foodplant, and has a length of about 1.5 cms. In life, it is greenish-brown with a golden ring around the thorax.
The skin turns brown once the butterfly has left the pupa.
The adult butterflies are orange with wide black borders around the wings, and a variable number of white spots in the black tips of the forewings. The head is black with white spots, and the thorax black with a white dorsal line. The abdomen is brown. The butterflies only have four legs.
The male has a more prominent black markings near the centre of each hind wing. The undersides are similar to the upper surfaces. The wingspan is about 6 cms.
The eggs are pale yellow and bullet-shaped. They are laid singly on young growth of a foodplant.
The species occurs as various subspecies across the tropics and subtropics, including :
The sub-species petilia (Stoll, 1790) is found in
and over the whole of Australia, including
Butterflies of this species may be purchased for release at weddings etc.
Further reading :
Michael F. Braby,
Butterflies of Australia,
CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 593-594.
Volume 1, Edition 10 (1760), Class 5, Part 3, p. 471, No. 81.
Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 223.
(updated 20 January 2011, 30 November 2013, 4 March 2015)