Euploea darchia (W.S. Macleay, 1826 )
Darwin Crow
(one synonym : Calliploea waterhousei Bryk, 1937)
DANAINAE ,   NYMPHALIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Photo: by C.E. Meyer, courtesy of The Australian Entomologist)

This species was named by Captain King of Macleay's ship (the "Bathust") after his friend Thomas Darch, of the Admiralty.

These Caterpillars have a series of alternating dark brown and pale cream bands across each segment, shading into orange-brown at the sides of the body. There is a cream stripe along each side of the body just above the legs. The caterpillars have three pairs of dark brown fleshy filaments. The caterpillars grow to a length of about 4 cms. They feed on the new shoots of :

  • Burny Vine ( Trophis scandens, MORACEAE ).

    The caterpillars grow to a length of about 4 cms. The pupa is naked and hung by a cremaster. It is initially green, but it changes to appear metallic after a couple of days, looking as though it is chrome-plated. It has a length of about 1 cm.


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

    The adult butterflies emerge after just over a week, and are brownish black, with an arc of white spots around each wing margin.


    Euploea darchia niveata
    underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The undersides are very similar to the upper surfaces. The adult butterflies have a wing span around 5 cms.

    The eggs are yellow and have a height of about 1 mm. The are laid singly on the undersides of leaves on young shoots of a foodplant.

    There are various subspecies found in

  • Indonesia, and
  • Papua New Guinea,

    and Australian has the two subspecies :

  • darchia with small white spots around the margin of each hindwing, in the north of Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and
  • niveata (Butler, 1875) with a broad white margin to each hindwing, in Queensland on Cape York.


    Further reading :

    William Sharp Macleay,
    Annulosa,
    in Philip Parker King :
    Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia,
    Volume 2 (1826), Appendix B, p. 462, No. 149.

    C.E. Meyer,
    Notes on the Immature Stages of Euploea darchia darchia (W.S. Macleay) (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae),
    The Australian Entomologist,
    Volume 23, Part 3 (October 1996), pp. 81-82.

    John T. Moss,
    The Intriguing White-margined Crow Butterfly Euploea darchia niveata (Butler, 1875),
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 56 (March 2010), pp. 1, 4-9,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.


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    (updated 14 July 2004, 2 December 2013, 11 March 2015)