Appias melania (Fabricius, 1775)
Grey Albatross
PIERINAE,   PIERIDAE,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.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 ( PHYLLANTHACEAE ).

    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 Grey Albatross Appias melania,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 69 (June 2013), pp. 1, 4-7.


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    (updated 20 August 2013, 19 March 2015, 2 June 2020)