SATYRINAE, NYMPHALIDAE, PAPILIONOIDEA
(Photo: courtesy of Museums Victoria)
The Caterpillar of this species feeds by night, hiding during the daytime at the base of its foodplant. It feed on various grasses (POACEAE) such as :
Only one caterpillar is usually found in any one grass tussock. The early instars of this Caterpillar are green, with a black head. Later instars are brown with a darker lines along the body. They have a round brown head, and a forked tail. The caterpillar grows to a length of about 3 cms.
The pupa is mottled brown and is formed in the debris at the base of its foodplant. Its length is about 2 cms.
The adults are dark brown with dimorphic white and orange markings. There is one eyespot on each forewing near the wing-tip, and two or three one each hindwing. The forewings have a large dark spot in the cell.
The males have a dark triangle from the base upto and including the dark spot in the cell.
The undersides are similar but paler. The adults have a wing span of about 5 cms.
This is another mountain insect, flying at altitudes above 700m. The males are typical of the genus and are quite active. Their preferred habitat is the more open eucalypt woodland where they can be locally quite common at times.
The species is found in the south-eastern quarter of Australia as several races :
The species is unusual in that the fertilized female of this butterfly acquires a genital sphragis.
Further reading :
Michael F. Braby,
Butterflies of Australia,
CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 512-513.
Gustavus Athol Waterhouse,
On Heteronympha philerope Boisd.,
Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales,
Volume 62 (1937), pp. 256-258.
(updated 11 October 2012, 20 September 2013, 13 March 2015, 17 June 2020)