Cethosia penthesilea (Cramer, 1777)
Orange Lacewing
(one synonym: Eugramma paksha)
HELICONIINAE ,   NYMPHALIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Cethosia penthesilea
(Photo: courtesy of Garry Sankowsky, Tolga, Queensland)

The Caterpillars of this species are brown with some white patches, including a totally white segment in the middle of the abdomen. The caterpillars are covered in black spiky hairs. The caterpillars grow to a length of about 3 cms.

Cethosia penthesilea
(Photo: courtesy of Garry Sankowsky, Tolga, Queensland)

The caterpillars feed on the leaves, fruit, and stems of :

  • Lacewing Vine ( Adenia heterophylla, PASSIFLORACEAE ).

    Cethosia penthesilea
    (Photo: courtesy of Garry Sankowsky, Tolga, Queensland)

    The pupa is brown and spiky, with white marks and gold spots. It hangs head downward from a cremaster. Its length is about 3 cms.

    Cethosia penthesilea

    The adult butterflies which have forewings that on top are orange, with a large black area on each wing tip containing a white band and a row of white spots. The upper surface of each hind wing is orange with a broad black border.

    Cethosia penthesilea
    (Specimen: courtesy Butterfly House, Coffs Harbour)

    Underneath, both wings are brown with white bands bordered by rows of black spots. The adults have a wingspan up to 7 cms.

    Cethosia penthesilea
    (Specimen: courtesy Butterfly House, Coffs Harbour)

    The eggs of this species are laid typically in clusters around a stem of the food plant. They are cylindrical and ribbed, and coloured pale yellow. They are about 1 millimetre in height.

    The species occurs as various subspecies in south-east Asia, including

  • Indonesia,
  • Malaysia,
  • Singapore,

    and the subspecies paksha Fruhstorfer, 1905, occurs in Australia in

  • Northern Territory, around the Gulf of Carpentaria.

    Cethosia penthesilea
    Thailand
    1978

    This is a featured species at the Coffs Harbour Butterfly House.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 538-539.

    Pieter Cramer,
    Description de Papillons Exotiques,
    Uitlandsche kapellen voorkomende in de drie waereld-deelen,
    Amsterdam Baalde, vol. 2 (1777), p. 78, figs. B, C, and also Plate 145, figs. B, C.


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    (updated 4 December 2009, 17 December 2013, 18 October 2015)