Pale Green Triangle Butterfly
This species is probably named after one of men named Eurypylus of Ancient Greece, possibly from the Aeneid as the bringer of a dire message to the Greeks in their war with Troy.
The first instar is black, with hairy tubercles on the head, thorax, and tail.
Later instars stay black, but lose the tubercles, and develop a pale yellow forked tail. The caterpillars are rather kite-shaped, being hump-backed in the thoracic region, and tapering to the tail.
The final instar is initially rusty brown, gradually becoming green at maturity
The metathorax develops a short spike each side, which in later instars is dark blue. A pair of short dark spikes also develop on the head. A white set of flaps develop along the sides, like a white skirt. When disturbed, the caterpillar everts a transparent pale yellow osmeterium, and produces a strong aromatic odour.
The caterpillars are often found feeding on plants in the family ANNONACEAE, such as:
as well as
However we found that the caterpillars failed to flourish on the Custard Apple.
The caterpillar grows to a length of about 4 cms.
The pupa is often formed on the upper surface of a leaf, usually facing the petiole. The pupa has a blunt thoracic horn, and is pale green with rows of darker green dots along each side. It has a length of about 2.5 cms. The butterflies spend winter as pupae. The adults emerge in October, and in Sydney: a second generation emerges in February.
The adult is black with pale turquoise patches and spots. The underside also has some red spots. The males have a tuft of white hair across the hind margin of each hindwing.
The butterfly has a wingspan of about 6 cms.
Races of this species are found throughout south-east Asia, including
and several subspecies have been recognised in Australia including:
These caterpillars start life as white, yellow, or greenish spherical eggs which are laid singly under leaves of the new shoots of a food plant. In the Sydney area the first generation hatches around October but are very inconspicuous. The February/March population is more conspicuous.
Butterflies of this species may be purchased for release at weddings etc.
Further reading :
Michael F. Braby,
Butterflies of Australia,
CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 260-262.
Frank Jordan & Helen Schwencke,
Create More Butterflies : a guide to 48 butterflies and their host-plants
Earthling Enterprises, Brisbane, 2005, pp. 34, 65.
Volume 1, Edition 10 (1760), Class 5, Part 3, p. 464, No. 37.
Pale Triangle (Graphium eurypylus lycaon),
Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club,
Issue 21 (June 2001)
Lionel Walter Rothschild,
A revision of the Papilios of the eastern hemisphere, exclusive of Africa,
Volume 2, Part 3 (1895), p. 430, and also Plate 6.
(updated 11 November 2009, 4 November 2016, 6 June 2020, 10 October 2021)