(Photo: courtesy of Karen Doyle, Townsville, Queensland)
This species is presumably named after the Ancient Greek hero Ulysses/Odysseus, who had an epic journey home after engaging in the siege of Troy.
The caterpillars of this butterfly are green with light coloured markings and a pair of white horns on the tail.
In the wild they feed on the new growth foliage of various jungle trees including:
and in RUTACEAE the plants:
and they will also accept the foliage of:
The pupa is normally suspended by cremaster and girdle from the foodplant. It has a length of about 4 cms.
The wings of the adults have metallic blue upper surfaces, with black borders. Underneath they have a brown pattern. The butterflies have a wingspan of about 10 cms. They feed on nectar, especially from the flowers of:
( Australia Post, 1998)
( Australia Post, 2003)
( Australia Post, 1981)
The males are especially attracted to blue objects, even from a distance of 30 metres. Collectors often exploit this by using a piece of blue paper or cloth to attract the butterflies.
Various races of the species are found across the south-west Pacific, including
as well as the subspecies joesa Butler, 1869, in Australia in
The live butterflies in the rainforest along the tropical north-east coast of Australia are a popular tourist attraction, and set (dead) specimens are popular wall attractions. The butterfly is the symbol of the Coffs Harbour Butterfly House.
This species is featured in the Coffs Harbour Butterfly House. Butterflies of this species may be purchased for release at weddings, etc.
Rearing this species regularly in captivity is difficult as the caterpillars are prone to attack by a contagious species-specific Microsporidian (a Nosoma species). This propagates even through indirect contact, and can accumulate in a closed environment over a period of two to three years to levels that cause 100% caterpillar mortality. So in a closed environment it is wise to rear only one caterpillar per foodplant, and to disinfect regularly eggs, foodplants, benches, etc., and source eggs from wild adults, for successful rearing in captivity. There seems to be no problem in wild populations probably because the caterpillars and adults are generally solitary, and only meet to mate.
Further reading :
Michael F. Braby,
Butterflies of Australia,
CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 273-274.
A Visit to the Butterfly House,
Issue 72 (March 2014), pp. 27-33,
Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.
Note of Interest,
Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club,
Newsletter, Issue 32 (March 2004), p. 19.
Volume 1, Edition 10 (1760), Class 5, Part 3, p. 462, No. 20.
(updated 25 October 2013, 20 November 2016)