Appias melania (Fabricius, 1775)
Grey Albatross
PIERINAE ,   PIERIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Appias melania
(Photo: courtesy of Trevor Jinks, North Burnett, Queensland)

This Caterpillar is initially just pale greenish-yellow. As it develops, it gets pairs of black warts along its back and sides. In later instars these are joined by black lines running along the body. The caterpillar feeds on:

  • Drypetes species ( EUPHORBIACEAE ).

    The pupa is often yellow with black-edged spikes. It has a upcurved spike on the head, a pair of sideways spikes on the thorax. There are a pair of black warts along the body on each segment. The pupa is held by cremaster and girdle on the top or underneath a leaf.

    Appias melania
    (Photo: courtesy of Trevor Jinks, North Burnett, Queensland)

    The upper surfaces of the forewings of the adult butterflies are grey fading to white toward the margins, with a black apex containing white spots. The hindwings have irregular black margins fading to white at the bases.

    Appias melania
    (Specimen: courtesy of The Australian Museum)

    The undersides of the forewings are grey, black, white and yellow. The undersides of the hindwings are dark grey-brown, each with a dark band. The butterflies have a wingspan of about 5 cms.

    Appias melania
    underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of The Australian Museum)

    The adult male butterflies are keen on "mud puddling": collecting around puddles of mud and drinking the liquid.

    The pale yellow eggs are ellipsoidal, ribbed, and laid singly, standing on one end, on a foodplant leaf

    The species occurs in Australia in

  • Queensland mainly around Cairns.

    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 326-327.

    Johan Christian Fabricius,
    Historiae Natvralis Favtoribvs,
    Systema Entomologiae,
    (1775), p. 475, No. 140.

    Garry Sandowsky,
    Notes on the Gey Albatross Appias melania,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 69 (June 2013), pp. 1, 4-7
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.


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    (updated 20 August 2013, 19 March 2015)