NYMPHALIDAE of Australia
Admirals, Aeroplanes, Browns, Daniaids, Emperors, Fritillaries, Leafwings, Longwings, Nymphs, and Satyrs PAPILIONOIDEA
Don Herbison-Evans,
Stella Crossley








Most of the common names of the subfamilies and species in NYMPHALIDAE seem to be derived from considerations of the adult Butterflies.

The "Browns" are probably so-named simply because their basic wing colour is brown !

"Fritillary" is from the Latin: "fritillus" meaning "dice box". In Roman times, such dice boxes were embellished with checkered patterns, and the butterflies in this group have checkered black and brown patterns on the wings.

The "Satyrs" in Greek mythology were the attendants of Bacchus, God of Wine and Revelry. They were grotesque spirits who danced about in woodland glades, and had the head and torso of a man, but the lower half of a goat. The group of NYMPHALIDAE called "Satyrs" are brown, have prominent eyespots, and are generally found in woodland. So perhaps they were so-named because of their woodland haunts, or perhaps because with their eyespots, they looked like grotesque heads.

The "Nymphs" in Greek mythology were beautiful graceful dancers in the woodland glades. "Nymphs" in NYMPHALIDAE have wings that are usually brightly coloured, and also dance about in woodland glades.

In contrast: "Danaids" in Greek mythology describe the daughters of the king of Argos, who killed their husbands on their wedding night. For this crime were condemned to the endless and futile task of filling sieve-like vessels with water. The caterpillars and butterflies of this subfamily are poisonous, and the adults have a slow and heavy flight. Whether "Danaids" are named for their slow and heavy flight, or because many contain poisons is unclear.

The pupae of many NYMPHALIDAE species hang vertically by tiny anal hooks from a silken pad (cremaster), which is very distinctive. Other families, if they have a cremaster, tend to stand on it, rather than dangle from it. For some of the Browns, pupation occurs in the ground, and the pupa remains unattached to anything.

The 82 named Australian species in NYMPHALIDAE are:

Acraea andromacha : Glasswing
Acraea terpsicore : Tawny Coster

Apaturina erminea : Turquoise Emperor

Argynnina cyrila : Cyril's Brown
Argynnina hobartia : Hobart Brown

Argynnis hyperbius : Laced Fritillary

Cethosia cydippe : Red Lacewing
Cethosia penthesilea : Orange Lacewing

Charaxes latona : Orange Emperor
Charaxes sempronius : Tailed Emperor

Cupha prosope : Australian Rustic

Danaus affinis : Black & White Tiger
Danaus chrysippus : Lesser Wanderer
Danaus genutia : Orange Tiger
Danaus petilia : Australian Lesser Wanderer
Danaus plexippus : Wanderer or Monarch

Doleschallia bisaltide : Australian Leafwing

Elymnias agondas : Palmfly

Euploea alcathoe : Striped Black Crow
Euploea algea : Long-Branded Blue Crow
Euploea batesii
Euploea climena
Euploea corinna : Oleander Butterfly or Australian Crow
Euploea darchia : Darwin Crow
Euploea leucostictos : White Flash Crow
Euploea modesta : Plain Blue Crow
Euploea sylvester : Two-Brand Crow
Euploea tulliolus : Purple Crow

Geitoneura acantha : Eastern Ringed Xenica
Geitoneura klugii : Klug's Xenica
Geitoneura minyas : Western Xenica

Heteronympha banksii : Banks' Brown
Heteronympha cordace : Bright Eyed Brown
Heteronympha merope : Common Brown
Heteronympha mirifica : Wonder Brown
Heteronympha paradelpha : Spotted Brown
Heteronympha penelope : Shouldered Brown
Heteronympha solandri : Solander's Brown

Hypocysta adiante : Orange Ringlet
Hypocysta angustata : Black & White Ringlet
Hypocysta euphemia : Rock Ringlet
Hypocysta irius : Northern Ringlet
Hypocysta metirius : Common Brown Ringlet
Hypocysta pseudirius : Dingy Ringlet

Hypolimnas alimena : Blue-banded Eggfly
Hypolimnas anomala
Hypolimnas bolina : Common Eggfly
Hypolimnas misippus : Diadem

Junonia erigone : Northern Argus
Junonia hedonia : Brown Soldier
Junonia orithya : Blue Argus
Junonia villida : Meadow Argus

Lexias aeropa

Libythea geoffroy : Australian Beak

Melanitis leda : Evening Brown

Mycalesis perseus : Dingy Bush Brown
Mycalesis sirius : Cedar Bush Brown
Mycalesis terminus : Orange Bush Brown

Mynes geoffroyi : White Nymph

Neptis praslini : Black & White Aeroplane

Nesoxenica leprea : Leprea Brown

Oreixenica correae : Correa Brown
Oreixenica kershawi : Striped Xenica
Oreixenica lathoniella : Common Silver Xenica
Oreixenica latialis : Alpine Silver Xenica
Oreixenica orichora : Spotted Alpine Xenica
Oreixenica ptunarra : Ptunarra Brown

Orsotriaena medus : Bush Brown

Pantoporia consimilis : Orange Aeroplane
Pantoporia venilia : Cape York Aeroplane

Phaedyma shepherdi : Common Aeroplane

Phalanta phalantha : Leopard

Taenaris artemis

Tellervo zoilus : Cairns Hamadryad

Tirumala hamata : Blue Tiger

Tisiphone abeona : Swordgrass Brown
Tisiphone helena : Helena Brown

Vagrans egista : Australian Vagrant

Vanessa cardui : Painted Lady
Vanessa itea : Australian Yellow Admiral
Vanessa kershawi : Australian Painted Lady

Vindula arsinoe : The Cruiser

Yoma sabina : The Lurcher

Ypthima arctous : Dingy Ring

Australian Butterflies
Australian Moths

(updated 4 October 2011, 13 November 2018, 16 March 2019, 27 June 2020)