Delias ennia (Wallace, 1867)
Yellow-banded Jezebel
(previously known as Thyca ennia)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Delias ennia
Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, from
Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art

This Caterpillar is greyish-green with raised white spots. It has rows of long white hairs along its body. It feeds on :

  • Bland Mistletoe ( Notothixos leiophyllus, SANTALACEAE ).

    Young instars are gregarious, but later instars are solitary. The caterpillars spread silk around the leaves where they are feeding.

    The pupa is formed often some metres from the foodplant. It is yellow and has a forked head. Its length is about 2.5 cms.

    Delias ennia
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The butterflies have a wingspan of about 5 cms. The upper surfaces of the wings of the male butterfly are white with a black band around the edge containing white spots at the apex of each forewing.

    Delias ennia
    Male underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The undersides of the forewings are similar but with yellow spots by the apex. The undersides of the hind wings have a border of black containing an arc of orange spots. The underside of each wing has an orange base.

    Delias ennia
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The female has white upper surfaces with a broad black band along the edge of each wing. Near the apex of each forewing, the black band contains some white spots.

    Delias ennia
    Female underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The underside of the female is white, with a broad black area by the apex of each forewing containing white and yellow spots. Each hindwing is half black toward the outer edge, and has an arc of orange spots around the edge.

    The eggs are laid in neat groups all aligned in rows. They are white, spindle-shaped, and each has a height of about 0.1 cm.

    The species is found on

  • New Guinea,

    and on the tropical north-east coast of Australia in Queensland as the subspecies :

  • tindalii Joicey & Talbot, 1926, on the Cape York Peninsula, and
  • nigidius Miskin, 1884, between Cooktown and Townsville.

    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 332-333.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 223 (listed as Delias innia).

    Alfred R. Wallace,
    On the Pieridae of the Indian and Australian Regions,
    Transactions of the Entomological Society of London,
    Series 3, Volume 4, Part 3 (1867), p. 355, No. 35, and also Plate 7, figs. 4.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 8 October 2012, 29 October 2013, 12 April 2015)