Cepora perimale (Donovan, 1805)
Australian Gull
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Cepora perimale
(Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

The Caterpillar of this species is green with yellow dots and white hairs. When resting, it often lies along a midrib of a foodplant leaf. It feeds on fresh young leaves and shoots of various species of Capparis, CAPPARACEAE, including:

  • Wild Caper ( Capparis canescens ),
  • Native Orange ( Capparis mitchellii ), and
  • Hedge Caper ( Capparis sepiaria ).

    Cepora perimale
    (Photo: courtesy of Helen Schwencke, from Create More Butterflies)

    The pupa is green and angular, and attached to a twig or leaf by its cremaster and a girdle of silk.

    Cepora perimale
    (Photo: courtesy of Trevor Jinks, North Burnett, Queensland)

    The adult butterflies are white with broad black margins containing white spots. The wings tend to grey at the bases.

    Cepora perimale
    (Photo: courtesy of Steve Pearson, Airlie Beach, Queensland)

    The undersides have a similar pattern to the upper surfaces, except the base colour is yellow or even brown in the dry season form. The wingspan is about 4 cms.

    Cepora perimale
    Photo: courtesy of
    Ken Walker
    Cepora perimale
    Photo: courtesy of
    Wes Jenkinson

    The eggs are spindle shaped with about 10 ribs, and pale yellow: about 1 mm high and 0.3 mm in diameter. They are often laid singly on young shoots of a foodplant.

    Cepora perimale
    close-up of head
    (Photo: courtesy of Steve Pearson, Airlie Beach, Queensland)

    This species occurs as various races across south-east Asia and the south-west Pacific, including

  • Fiji,
  • Java,
  • Nouvelle-CalÚdonie,
  • Pakistan,

    The subpecies scyllara (Macleay, 1826) occurs in Australia, including

  • Western Australia,
  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales, and
  • Victoria.

    Cepora perimale
    Kraft Australia
    Cepora perimale
    Norfolk Island 1976

    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 323-324.

    Edward Donovan,
    General Illustration of Entomology,
    An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of New Holland, New Zealand, New Guinea, Otaheite and other Islands in the Indian, Southern and Pacific Oceans,
    Volume 1 (1805), p.97, and also Plate on p. 96.

    Wesley Jenkinson,
    Life history notes on the Caper Gull, Cepora perimale scyllara (Donovan, 1805) Lepidoptera: Pieridae,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 70 (September 2013), pp. 21-23.

    Frank Jordan & Helen Schwencke,
    Create More Butterflies : a guide to 48 butterflies and their host-plants
    Earthling Enterprises, Brisbane, 2005, p. 9.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 1 January 2012, 30 September 2023)