Mycalesis perseus (Fabricius, 1775)
Dingy Bush-brown
SATYRINAE ,   NYMPHALIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Mycalesis perseus
(Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

This Caterpillar is initially green with pale lateral stripes and a dark dorsal stripe. Later, the body often becomes brown, The head is brown or black, and has a blunt pair of horns that develop yellow tips. The tail is pale and forked. The Caterpillar feeds on various members of the Grass family ( POACEAE ), including :

  • Giant Spear Crass ( Heteropogon triticeus ),
  • Silky Blue Grass ( Dichanthium sericeum ),
  • Kangaroo Grass ( Themeda triandra ), and
  • the introduced Guinea Grass ( Panicum maximum ).

    Mycalesis perseus
    (Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

    The pupa is green or brown with pale markings. It hangs from silk pad on a stem or leaf of the foodplant. Its length is a about 1.5 cms.

    Mycalesis perseus
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

    The adults are brown, the dry season form having a small white eyespot on the top of each forewing. The females are usually larger and paler than the males.

    Mycalesis perseus
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

    Underneath the wings are also brown with a variable pattern including a pale diagonal stripe across each wing, and a row of larger eyespots under each of the wings. The wingspan can be up to 4 cms.

    Mycalesis perseus
    (Photo: courtesy of Dave Britton)

    The eggs of this species are spherical, and green or yellow, and have a diameter of about 1 mm. They are laid singly on leaves of a foodplant.

    Mycalesis perseus
    egg, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

    The species occurs as a number of subspecies across south-east Asia, including

  • India,
  • Philippines,
  • Thailand,

    including the subspecies perseus in Australia in

  • Northern Territory, and
  • Queensland.

    Mycalesis perseus
    Mycalesis perseus vs Praying Mantid
    (Photo: courtesy of Jeevan Jose, taken at Kerala, India.)


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 472-473.

    Michael F. Braby,
    Morphology of the Early Stages of Mycalesis Hübner (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Satyrinae) From North-eastern Australia,
    Australian Journal of Entomology,
    Volume 33, Issue 3 (August 1994), pp. 289–294.

    Johan Christian Fabricius,
    Historiae Natvralis Favtoribvs,
    Systema Entomologiae,
    1775, p. 488, No. 199.


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    (updated 4 October 2011, 10 December 2013, 27 January 20014)