Common Grass Yellow
(one synonym : Terias hecabeoides Ménétriés, 1855)
COLIADINAE , PIERIDAE , PAPILIONOIDEA
This Caterpillar is initially a uniform pale green.
Later instars are green with a white band along each side edged with yellow, and are covered in short hairs. The Caterpillars grow to a length of about 3 cms. Their foodplants include ;
The pupae are held by cremaster and girdle to a stem of the food plant, and is green, and has a length of about 2 cms. It has a pointed head, and a ventral keel.
The upper surface of each wing of the adult butterfly is yellow with a black band around the edge, which has a characteristic double indentation on each forewing. The black edge to each hindwing is quite narrow, especially in the males. The undersides are yellow with variable brown markings. The wingspan is about 4 cms.
The butterflies may often be seen flying slowly close to the ground, particularly over grass, hence their common name, which is an odd behaviour because the larvae do not eat grass! The butterflies are important pollinators of the Arrowhead Violet ( Viola betonicifolia ) which is the foodplant of Argyreus hyperbius.
The species is noteworthy for having the most synonyms (32) of all the named species of Australian Lepidoptera listed in the Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Australia, signifying 32 redescriptions of the same species or subspecies in the scientific literature.
It is found as various subspecies over much of south-east Asia, including :
as well as the northern half of Australia, including
This species is featured at Coffs Harbour Butterfly House. Butterflies of this species may be purchased for release at weddings etc.
Further reading :
Michael F. Braby,
Butterflies of Australia,
CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 307-308.
Observations on Butterfly Host Plants,
Issue 55 (December 2009), pp. 20-21,
Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.
Volume 1, Edition 10 (1760), Class 5, Part 3, p. 470, No. 74.
Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 225.
(updated 5 January 2010, 20 September 2013, 14 April 2015)