Argynnis hyperbius (Linnaeus, 1763)
Laced Fritillary
(also known as Argyreus hyperbius)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

This Caterpillar is probably named after the valiant warrior, son of Oenops, in the ancient Greek play "The Seven Against Thebes" by Aeschylus.

Argynnis hyperbius
(Photo: courtesy of David Johnston)

The eggs of this species are barrel-shaped, and have vertical ridges. Initially they are white, later changing to bluish-green. They are often laid singly on plants adjacent to rather than on the foodplant. The female butterflies have been observed laying their eggs on debris at the foot of a foodplant. This appears to be a response to a defence that some plants have developed against caterpillars. These plants secrete a juice in response to an egg being laid on them. The juice causes mould to grow which kills the egg.

Argynnis hyperbius
First instars
(Photo: courtesy of David Johnston)

The caterpillars are black with orange tubercles, and are covered in branched black spines.

Argynnis hyperbius
Second instar
(Photo: courtesy of David Johnston)

The caterpillars are inclined to hide by night, and but by day feed on the Australian native violets ( VIOLACEAE ) :

  • Arrowhead Violet ( Viola betonicifolia ), and
  • Trailing Violet ( Viola hederacea ).

    Argynnis hyperbius
    Last instar
    (Photo: courtesy of David Johnston)

    The pupa is spiky and orange. Some of the spikes are cream coloured. It hangs by a cremaster from a stem of a nearby plant.

    Argynnis hyperbius
    (Photo: courtesy of David Johnston)

    The adult butterflies on top are orange with black spots.

    Argynnis hyperbius
    male, upper surface
    (Photo: courtesy of Stephan Shuichi Haupt)

    Argynnis hyperbius
    male, under surface
    (Photo: courtesy of David Johnston)

    The female has larger black spots, creating black areas on the wingtips. Underneath, both sexes are pale with dark markings The wingspan can reach 7 cms.

    Argynnis hyperbius
    female, probably of an non-Australian subspecies
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The species occurs as various subspecies with slightly differing wing colours and patterns over north east Africa and southern Asia, including :
  • Ethiopia,
  • Hong Kong,
  • India,
  • Japan,
  • Korea,
  • New Guinea,

    as well as the subspecies inconstans (Butler, 1873) in Australia where it is considered to be an endangered species, occurring locally in

  • southern Queensland, and
  • northern New South Wales.

    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 550-551.

    Johnston and Johnston,
    Life history of Argyreus hyperbius inconstans (Australian fritillary),
    Australian Entomological Magazine,
    Volume 11 (October 1984), pp. 4-5.

    Frank Jordan & Helen Schwencke,
    Create More Butterflies : a guide to 48 butterflies and their host-plants
    Earthling Enterprises, Brisbane, 2005, pp. 25, 60, 62, 63.

    Carl Linnaeus,
    Centuria Insectorum,
    Amoenitates Academicae,
    Volume 6 (1763), p. 408-409, No. 75.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 8 October 2012, 1 Auugust 2016, 14 June 2020)