Catopsilia pyranthe (Linnaeus, 1758 )
Common Migrant
COLIADINAE,   PIERIDAE,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.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 Senna ( CAESALPINIACEAE ), including the Australian natives :

  • Cigar Cassia ( Cassia brewsteri ),
  • Arsenic Bush ( Senna planitiicola ),
  • Pepper Leaf Senna ( Senna barclayana ),
  • Candle Bush ( Senna alata ),
  • Candlestick Cassia ( Senna venusta ), and
  • Sprawling Cassia ( Senna aciphylla ),

    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 across south-east Asia, including

  • India,
  • Singapore,
  • Thailand,

    and in 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.

    Ross Kendall,
    Images of Butterfly Larvae,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 55 (December 2009), p. 32,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    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)