Heteronympha mirifica (Butler, 1866)
Wonder Brown
(previously known as Lasiommata mirifica)
SATYRINAE ,   NYMPHALIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Heteronympha mirifica
male
(Photo: courtesy of Kath Vail, Middle Pocket, New South Wales)

These Caterpillars are initially green. Later instars are brown with a darker dorsal line which narrows at each intersegment joint and widens on each segment. The tail has a forked projection. They have a brown head that also has a pair of small horns, with pink tips. The caterpillars feed on various grasses ( POACEAE ), including :

  • Shade Grass ( Ottochloa gracillima ), and
  • Basketgrass ( Oplismenus species, ).

    The pupa is green or brown, and suspended by a cremaster at a slanting angle to the vertical. It has a length of about 2 cms.

    Heteronympha mirifica
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Kath Vail, Middle Pocket, New South Wales)

    The wings of the adult male butterflies are brown with black markings. Each wing has an eyespot on the upper surface but not underneath.

    Heteronympha mirifica
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Christine Ashe, Wyee, New South Wales)

    The females look entirely different. They are larger and black on top with grey underneath, and each forewing has a white bar and a white spot near the wingtip. There is also a small eyespot on the top of each hindwing. The female butterflies have a wing span of about 6 cms. For many years it was thought the sexes were from different species, not only because of their different wing patterns, but also because the males tend to congregate towards the tops of hills, and the females prefer the moist gullies below.

    The species is found in

  • southern Queensland,
  • New South Wales, and
  • Victoria.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 508-509.

    Arthur G. Butler,
    Descriptions of some new species of diurnal Lepidoptera,
    The Annals and Magazine of Natural History,
    Series 3, Volume 17 (1866), pp. 286-287.


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    (updated 24 March 2011, 8 December 2013)