Euploea sylvester (Fabricius, 1793)
Two-brand Crow
(previously known as Doricha sylvester)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Euploea sylvester pelor
(Photo: by C.E. Meyer, courtesy of The Australian Entomologist)

The genus to which this species belongs, Euploea, holds the record in the 'Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Australia' for having been described (and renamed) the most number of times (namely 47).

The Caterpillars of this species are pale orange or green with several white narrow bands across each segment. The spiracles are black, and there is a white line along the body each side just above the legs. The head is black and white. The caterpillars have three or four pairs of black fleshy filaments, two pairs on the thorax, and one pair on the last abdominal segment. Some subspecies also have a fourth pair on the first abdominal segment. The caterpillars can grow to a length of 5 cms. They feed various plants including :

  • Milkweed Vine ( Marsdenia geminata, APOCYNACEAE ),
  • Starcluster Vine ( Marsdenia pleiadenia, ASCLEPIADACEAEAE ), and
  • Cluster Fig ( Ficus racemosa, MORACEAE ).

    Euploea sylvester
    male Euploea syvester pelor
    Eathan Beaver, Darwin, Northern Territory)

    The adults are dark brown, with a variable number of white spots. The males have extra pale elliptical marks on the forewings. The butterflies have a wingspan up to 7 cms.

    Euploea sylvester
    male Euploea syvester syvester
    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO Entomology)

    The eggs are pale yellow and shaped like a bullet. They have a height of about 1.5 mms. They are laid singly on young shoots and tendrils of a foodplant.

    Euploea sylvester
    underside, male, Euploea syvester sylvester
    (Photo: courtesy of Rein Hofman , Burpengary, Queensland )

    The species occurs as several races across south-east Asia, including

  • India,
  • Malaysia,
  • Taiwan,
  • Thailand,

    and in Australia as two subspecies:

  • sylvester, with marginal arcs of white dots, in
    Queensland, and

  • pelor Doubleday, 1847, with no marginal white dots, in
    Western Australia and Northern Territory.


    male, Vanuatu, 1983

    Further reading :

    Johan Christian Fabricius,
    Entomologia systematica emendata et aucta,
    Volume 3, Part 1 (1793), p. 41, No. 124.

    C.E. Meyer,
    Notes on the life history and variation in adult forms of Euploea sylvester pelor Doubleday (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Danainae),
    The Australian Entomologist,
    Volume 24, Part 2 (September 1997), pp. 73-77.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 20 August 2011, 21 December 2013, 11 March 2015, 17 June 2020)