Mycalesis terminus (Fabricius, 1775)
Orange Bush Brown
(one synonym is Mycalesis tira Gaede, 1931)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Mycalesis terminus
(Photo: courtesy of David Rentz, Kuranda, Queensland)

The Caterpillar of this species is brown with a faint dark dorsal line and obscure diagonal markings. The caterpillar has forked projections on the head and the tail. It grows to a length of about 3 cms. The caterpillar feeds on various grasses (POACEAE) such as :

  • Kangaroo Grass ( Themeda triandra ),
  • Guinea Grass ( Panicum maximum ),
  • Blady Grass ( Imperata cylindrica ), and
  • Scrambing Grass ( Oplismenus species).

    Early instars feed on leaftips, sheltering under the leaftip when not feeding. Later instars feed nocturnally, resting by day head downward at the base of the plant.

    The pupa is green with a dark doral line, and irregular ridges with white edges. It has a length up to 1.5 cms. It hangs head down from a cremaster attached to the foodplant or a nearby object.

    Mycalesis terminus
    (Specimen: courtesy of Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The adults are dark brown with a large orange patch on each forewing, and with one eyespot on each forewing and three on each hindwing.

    Mycalesis terminus
    (Specimen: courtesy of Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    Underneath, the wings are brown, each with a central pale yellow band, and a subterminal arc of eyespots. The butterflies have a wing span of about 4 cms. The adults are noted for their attraction to rotting fruit, especially over-ripe bananas, from which they suck the juice. They also drink dew and sap.

    Mycalesis terminus
    feeding on over-ripe banana juice
    (Photo: courtesy of Gus Lee, Cairns, Queensland)

    The eggs are laid in small (1 - 7) clusters on the underside of a leaf of a foodplant. They are each spherical, yellow, and have a diameter of about 1 mm.

    The species is found in

  • Borneo,
  • New Guinea, and
  • Solomons,

    as well as in Australia in

  • Queensland.

    Mycalesis terminus
    mating pair
    (Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, Kuranda, Queensland)

    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 476-477.

    Johan Christian Fabricius,
    Historiae Natvralis Favtoribvs,
    Systema Entomologiae (1775), p. 488, No. 200.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 4 May 2010, 10 December 2013, 24 May 2019, 25 June 2020)