Catopsilia pyranthe (Linnaeus, 1758 )
White Migrant
COLIADINAE,   PIERIDAE,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Catopsilia pyranthe
(Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

The Caterpillars of this species are cylindrical and green, with lateral yellow bands, and black dots on the head. They live alone and grow to a length of about 4 cms. They feed openly on various species of Cassia and Senna ( CAESALPINIACEAE ), including the Australian natives :

  • Mark's Cassia ( Cassia marksiana ),
  • Sprawling Cassia ( Senna aciphylla ),
  • Candle Bush ( Senna alata ),
  • Pepper Leaf Senna ( Senna barclayana ),
  • Arsenic Bush ( Senna planitiicola ),
  • > Candlestick Cassia ( Senna venusta ), and

    and the introduced

  • Popcorn Cassia ( Cassia didymobotrya ), and
  • Golden Shower Tree ( Cassia fistula ).

    Catopsilia pyranthe
    (Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

    The pupa is attached to a leaf or stem by cremaster and girdle. It has a length of about 3 cms.

    Catopsilia pyranthe
    female
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The adult butterflies have a wingspan of about 5 cms. The upper surfaces of the wings are white. The males have a black tip to each forewing. The females have black margins around each wing, and a black dot on each forewing.

    Catopsilia pyranthe
    hiding under a Red Ash leaf
    (Photo: courtesy of Jeff Keyes, Sportsman Creek Wildlife Refuge, New South Wales)

    Underneath, the wings are cream coloured, with pale brown freckles.

    Catopsilia pyranthe
    egg
    (Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

    The eggs are white and spindle-shaped. They are laid singly on a leaf of a foodplant.

    Catopsilia pyranthe
    underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The species occurs as a number of races across south-east Asia, including

  • India,
  • Singapore,
  • Thailand,

    and in Australia as the races

  • pyranthe and
  • crokera (W.S. Macleay, 1826)

    over much of Australia, including:

  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Lord Howe Island,
  • Victoria, and
  • South Australia.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 289-291.

    William Sharp Macleay,
    Annulosa,
    in Philip Parker King :
    Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia,
    Volume 2 (1826), Appendix B, p. 458, No. 137.

    Frank Jordan & Helen Schwencke,
    Create More Butterflies : a guide to 48 butterflies and their host-plants
    Earthling Enterprises, Brisbane, 2005, pp. 48, 66.

    Carl Linnaeus,
    Insecta Lepidoptera,
    Systema Naturae,
    Volume 1, Edition 10 (1760), Class 5, Part 3, p. 469, No. 66.


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    (updated 1 January 2012, 20 October 2013, 19 March 2015, 10 June 2020)