Delias nysa (Fabricius, 1775)
Yellow Spotted Jezebel
(one synonym : Papilio endora Donovan, 1805)
PIERINAE ,   PIERIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Delias nysa
(Photo: courtesy of Dave Britton)

The Caterpillars of this species are olive-green with two rows of white spots bearing long white hairs. They feed on various Mistletoes SANTALACEAE including:

  • Pincushion Mistletoe ( Amyema gaudichaudii, LORANTHACEAE ).
  • Short-jointed Mistletoe ( Korthalsella breviarticulata, SANTALACEAE ), and
  • Ruddy Mistletoe ( Korthalsella rubra, SANTALACEAE ).

    The caterpillars at first are gregarious, but later instars are solitary. The caterpillars grow to a length of about 3.5 cms.

    Delias nysa
    Male
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The adults have a wingspan of about 5 cms. The upper surface of each wing of the male butterfly is white with broad black veins, especially toward the apex of each forewing.

    Delias nysa
    Male underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The underside of each wing of a male is grey. The underside of the forewing also has white spots, a white inner margin, and a yellow patch at the base.

    Delias nysa
    Female
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The female has black upper surfaces with a broad white area at the base of each wing, containing white spots.

    Delias nysa
    Female underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The underside of the female is brownish grey. Each forewing has an arc of white spots, a white patch at the inner margin, and a yellow patch by the base. Each hindwing underneath has an arc of small orange spots.

    The eggs are laid in groups of about 20 on leaves of a foodplant.

    The species is found in the south-west Pacific, as subspecies caledonica Nieuwenhuis & Howarth, in

  • New Caledonia, and
  • Vanuatu,

    and as subspecies nysa in

  • New Guinea,

    and down the east coast of Australia, including

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales, and
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania,
    and a small pocket of the subspecies nivira Waterhouse & Lyell, 1914, is found in
  • Queensland, on Cape York.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 330-331.

    Johan Christian Fabricius,
    Historiae Natvralis Favtoribvs,
    Systema Entomologiae,
    1775, p. 473, No. 128.


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    (updated 4 June 2010, 29 October 2013, 12 April 2015)