Delias aestiva Butler, 1897
Summer Jezebel
(also known as Delias oestiva)
PIERINAE,   PIERIDAE,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

This Caterpillar feeds on :

  • Milky Mangrove (Excoecaria agallocha, EUPHORBIACEAE).

    Delias aestiva
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Ethan Beaver, Darwin, Northern Territory)

    The upper surfaces of the wings of the adult butterfly are basically white. Each forewing has a black band around the wingtip containing a white arc. The undersides of the forewings are the same as the upper surfaces. The undersides of the hindwings are each white, suffusing to yellow along the hind margin, with a broad black margin containing a red submarginal band. The butterfly has a wingspan of about 6 cms.

    The species is found in Australia:

  • as the subspecies aestiva in the Northern Territory, and
  • as the subspecies smithersi Daniels 2012, on the York Peninsula, Queensland.

    Delias aestiva
    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Ethan Beaver, Northern Territory)

    For many years, this species was treated as a subspecies of Delias mysis, until 2012, when it was elevated to full species status on the basis of its genitalia morphology, colour pattern, immature stages, behaviour, and ecology.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    The taxonomy and ecology of Delias aestiva Butler, 1897 stat. rev. (Lepidoptera: Pieridae), a unique mangrove specialist of Euphorbiaceae,
    Biological Journal of the Linnean Society,
    Volume 107 (2012), pp. 697-720.

    Michael F. Braby,
    Taxonomic status of Delias aestiva smithersi Daniels, 2012 (Lepidoptera: Pieridae) comb. nov. from the Gulf Country of northern Australia, with description of the female,
    Records of the Australian Museum, 2014.

    Arthur G. Butler,
    Revision of the Pierine butterflies of the genus Delias,
    The Annals and Magazine of Natural History,
    6th Series, Volume 20 (1897), p. 159, No. 73.

    Greg Daniels,
    A new subspecies of Delias mysis (Fabricius) (Lepidoptera: Pieridae) from the Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland, Australia,
    Australian Entomologist,
    Volume 39 (2012), pp. 273-276.


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    (written 12 June 2020)