Large 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 brown markings vary with season, being fainter in the wet season. 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.
The eggs are laid singly on the upper side of a foodplant leaf, and are off-white, spindle-shaped, and finely ribbed. The eggs have a height of about 1.3 mm.
The species is found as various subspecies over much of Africa and 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.
Life History Notes on the Large Grass-yellow, Eurema hecabe (Linnaeus, 1758) Lepidoptera: Pieridae,
Butterfly and Other Invertebrates Club Inc.,
Issue 86, September 2017, pp. 27-30.
Frank Jordan & Helen Schwencke,
Create More Butterflies : a guide to 48 butterflies and their host-plants
Earthling Enterprises, Brisbane, 2005, p. 26.
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, 16 September 2017, 13 June 2020, 4 September 2021)