Catopsilia gorgophone (Boisduval, 1836)
Yellow Migrant
(previously known as Callidryas gorgophone)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Catopsilia gorgophone
Catopsilia gorgophone
Caterpillar with parasite eggs attached
(Specimen: courtesy of Helen Schwencke, Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club)

The Caterpillar is dark green, with a pale yellow dotted stripe each side decorated with groups of blue dots. The Caterpillar has a pale green head, and grows to a length of about 4 cms.

Catopsilia gorgophone
(Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

The caterpillar feeds on species from the family CAESALPINIACEAE including:

  • Kolomana ( Cassia retusa = Senna gaudichaudii ), and
  • Glossy Shower ( Senna surattensis ).

    The caterpillar rests with its head and thorax lifted in the air, resembling a twig.

    Catopsilia gorgophone
    (Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

    The pupa is suspended from a twig of the foodplant by cremaster and girdle. It has a length of about 3 cms.

    Catopsilia gorgophone
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The adults have a wingspan of about 6 cms. The male has forewings that are white with black edges, and has hindwings that are deep yellow.

    Catopsilia gorgophone
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The female has forewings that are pale yellow, with a subterminal arc of brown spots. The hindwings of the female are yellow.

    Catopsilia gorgophone
    normal male
    (Photo: courtesy of Ross Kendall,
    Butterfly Encounters, Indooroopilly, Queensland)

    The wings of the male are yellow underneath, with dark spots that can have white centres.

    Catopsilia gorgophone
    normal female
    (Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

    The female undersides are similar to those of the male, but the markings are more intense than those of the male.

    Catopsilia gorgophone
    pale form : hinda
    (Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

    The butterflies have a pale form : hinda

    Catopsilia gorgophone
    pink ring variety
    (Photo: courtesy of Margaret Scudamore, Charleville, Queensland)

    This pale form can have a single pink ring under the hindwing.

    Catopsilia gorgophone
    two eggs, slightly magnified
    Photo: courtesy of Ross Kendall,
    Indooroopilly, Queensland
    Catopsilia gorgophone
    one egg, highly magnified
    Photo: courtesy of Ken Walker,
    Brisbane, Queensland

    The eggs are off-white, and spindle-shaped, with a dozen or so ribs, and with a width of about 0.5 mm, and a height of about 1.8 mm. They are laid singly on leaves of a foodplant.

    Catopsilia gorgophone
    courting couple: male on the left, female on the right.

    The species occurs in the eastern Pacific, including:

  • Fiji,
  • New Guinea,

    as well as in Australia in:

  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales, and
  • Victoria.

    Live butterflies of this species may be purchased for release at weddings etc.

    Catopsilia gorgophone
    male underside

    Catopsilia gorgophone
    female underside
    (Specimens: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    Further reading :

    Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Dechauffour de Boisduval,
    Species Général des Lépidoptéres,
    Histoire naturelle des insectes,
    Volume 1 (1836), pp. 632-633, No 26.

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 294-296.

    Frank Jordan & Helen Schwencke,
    Create More Butterflies : a guide to 48 butterflies and their host-plants
    Earthling Enterprises, Brisbane, 2005, pp. 52, 65.

    John T. Moss & Wesley Jenkinson,
    A comparison of the Yellow Migrant, Catopsilia gorgophone (Boisduval, 1896) and the Orange Migrant, C. scylla (Linnaeus, 1764) [Lepidoptera,: Pieridae] with comment on evidence for natural hybridisation,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 62 (September 2011), pp. 1, 4-8,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 24 September 2011, 20 January 2019, 10 June 2020, 16 September 2021)