(one synonym : Papilio lewini Thon, 1828)
PIERINAE , PIERIDAE , PAPILIONOIDEA
(Photo: courtesy Stewart Newman)
These Caterpillars are cylindrical and black with sparse white hairs and spots. The Caterpillars feed on various species of Mistletoe ( LORANTHACEAE), including :
The gregarious Caterpillars spin a silken web on their foodplant. They grow to a length of 4 cms.
The Caterpillars pupate in a group in their web. The pupae range in colour from orange in summer to black in winter. The pupae have a small forked appendage at the head end. The orange pupae have a black dorsal line on the thorax, and a number of black spikes including one on the back of each abdominal segment.
The butterflies have a wingspan of up to 7 cm. The upper surfaces of the wings are a dirty white with wide black margins. The forewing tips each contain an arc of white spots. The females are greyer than the males and have a green tinge, and the black margins are wider.
The undersides are white, red, yellow, and black.
The eggs are laid in clusters of about 100 on the upper surface of a foodplant leaf. The eggs are yellow and bottle shaped with a height of about 0.1 cm.
The species occurs in the south-eastern quarter of continental Australia, including
Drawings were made of this species by Arthur Bartholomew in 1861.
Further reading :
Michael F. Braby,
Butterflies of Australia,
CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 334-336.
Michael F. Braby,
Inland breeding records for two mistletoe butterflies (Lepidoptera) from northern Victoria,
Australian Entomologist, Volume 32 (2005), Part 4, pp. 161-162.
An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of New Holland, New Zealand, New Guinea, Otaheite and other Islands in the Indian, Southern and Pacific Oceans.
London, 1805, pp. 88-89.
(updated 6 June 2007, 29 October 2013, 25 January 2014, 15 March 2015)