Libythea geoffroy Godart, [1824]
Purple Beak
(erroneously: Lybythea geoffroyii)
LIBYTHEINAE ,   NYMPHALIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

These Caterpillars are green fading to yellow at each end, and have pale yellow lines along the body. They are thought to feed on various species of Elm ( ULMACEAE ) including :

  • Hackberry ( Celtis paniculata ), and
  • Malaikmo ( Celtis philippinensis ).

    They feed particularly on young shoots of the foodplant. When not feeding, they rest with the thorax lifted and the head curled underneath.

    The pupa is green or brown with a yellow line along each side. Its length is about 1.5 cms. It is formed hanging obliquely, head downward, from the underside of a foodplant leaf.


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

    The wings of the male and female adult butterflies are different.

    The males are purple with brown veins and dark wingtips. The forewings have several white spots. The hindwings each have an indistinct orange band.

    The females are brown, shading to orange at the base of each wing, and with white spots on the forewings. There is an orange band across each hindwing.


    Male: underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The undersides are similar to the upper surfaces but suffused with white . The wingspan of the butterflies is about 5 cms.

    The eggs are pale cream, and elongate. Their height is about 0.7 mm. They are laid singly in a crevice, such as a leaf axil, of a foodplant.

    The species is found as several subspecies throughout south-east Asia, including

  • New Guinea,
  • Philippines, and
  • Thailand,

    and in Australia, where it is confined to the northern tropics, with two subspecies:

  • genia Waterhouse, 1938, in the north of Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and
  • nicevillei Olliff, 1891, in Queensland.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 587-588.

    Jean Baptiste Godart,
    in Latreille & Godart : Histoire Naturelle Entomologie,
    Encyclopédie Méthodique,
    Volume 9, Part 2 Supplement (1824), p. 813.


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    (updated 30 May 2012, 10 December 2013)