White or Jezabel Nymph
(previously known as Nymphalis geoffroyi)
NYMPHALINAE, NYMPHALIDAE, PAPILIONOIDEA
young caterpillar, magnified
(Photo: courtesy of Robert Whyte, Brisbane, Queensland)
The Caterpillars are initially orange with black hairs. Later the caterpillars become black with pink hairs, and later still mottled grey and green and brown. The caterpillars are well camouflaged, and look like the flowers and developing fruit on which they feed. They are gregarious and inclined to stay in clusters.
The caterpillars feed on various stinging trees (URTICACEAE) including :
The pupa is dark brown and spiky, with darker tips to the spikes, and a white spot under each side of the thorax. The pupa hangs from a leaf or twig, often several hanging together from the same support.
The wings of the male and female adult butterflies are different.
The males are white with black margins, and with a white arc in the black forewing wingtips. They bear a remarkable resemblance to some of the PIERIDAE, such as Delias mysis and Delias nigrina.
Underneath, the males are white with black, yellow and red arcs around the edges.
The females are similar in pattern, but with grey substituting for the white. The undersides are darker versions of the male undersides. The wingspan of the male butterflies is about 5 cms. The females have a wingspan of about 6 cms.
The eggs of this species are orange and spherical with twelve pale-edged ribs. The eggs are laid in neat arrays of several dozen under a leaf of a foodplant.
The species is found as several subspecies in
and in Australia, the subspecies guerini Wallace, 1869, is found along the coastal areas of
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. 584-585.
Frank Jordan & Helen Schwencke,
Create More Butterflies : a guide to 48 butterflies and their host-plants
Earthling Enterprises, Brisbane, 2005, p. 24.
Félix Édouard Guérin-Méneville,
Voyage autour du monde sur la covette La Coquille,
Volume 2, Part 2 (1838), p. 279, and Plate 16, fig. 1.
Life history notes on the Jezebel Nymph Mynes geoffroyi guerini Wallace, 1869 Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae,
Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club,
Issue 94 (September 2019), pp. 4-8,
(updated 30 December 2009, 10 December 2013, 14 April 2014, 18 July 2020, 8 March 2021)