Tellervo zoilus (Fabricius, 1775)
Cairns Hamadryad
DANAINAE,   NYMPHALIDAE,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Tellervo zoilus
(Photo: courtesy of Martin Purvis, Sydney, New South Wales)

These Caterpillars are grey with white transverse bands, a black head, and two yellow spots on the tail. The caterpillars also have two long filaments projecting from the thorax. They feed on the soft new shoots of vines from the plant family APOCYNACEAE, including :

  • Possum Scrub ( Parsonsia ferruginea ),
  • Silkpod ( Parsonsia latifolia ), and
  • Strawpod ( Parsonsia straminea ).

    Each caterpillar appears to be territorial, marking out its intended food leaf with regurgitated fluid before feeding on it. Any adjacent caterpillars are jostled away with rapid sideways head movements.

    The pupa is a pale shiny green colour with black spots. It is suspended head downward from a cremaster usually from the underside of a leaf.

    Tellervo zoilus
    (Photo: courtesy of Todd Burrows, South Stradbroke Island, Queensland)

    The adult butterflies are black with white spots on the forewings, and a large white patch on each hindwing. The undersieds are similar but have more white spots. They have a wingspan of about 4 cms.

    Tellervo zoilus
    (Specimen: courtesy of The Australian Museum)

    The eggs are white and laid singly on a foodplant.

    Tellervo zoilus
    underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of The Australian Museum)

    The species is found as several races in

  • New Guinea and adjacent islands,

    as well as in Australia in Queensland as the races

  • gelo Waterhouse & Lyell, 1914, on Cape York, and
  • zoilus from Cooktown to Townsville.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 614-615.

    Johan Christian Fabricius,
    Historiae Natvralis Favtoribvs,
    Systema Entomologiae (1775), p. 480, No. 163.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 230.


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    (updated 16 September 2010, 12 December 2013)