Doleschallia bisaltide (Cramer, 1777)
Australian Leafwing
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Doleschallia bisaltide
(Photo: courtesy of Rose Robin, Tamborine Mountain, Queensland)

This Caterpillar is black with cream spots and blue and red markings. It is covered sparsely in branched black spines, and has a pair of hairy horns on its head. The caterpillar feeds nocturnally, hiding by day in debris on the ground by its foodplant.

Doleschallia bisaltide
(Photo: courtesy of Bethany Cave, Tamborine Mountain, Queensland)

The caterpillars feed on the foliage of various species from the family ACANTHACEAE, including the Australian native plants :

  • Chinese Violet ( Asystasia gangetica ),
  • Pastel Flower ( Pseuderanthemum variabile ), and
  • Christmas Pride ( Ruellia species ),

    as well as the introduced species :

  • Caricature Plant ( Graptophyllum pictum ),
  • Shooting Star ( Pseuderanthemum bicolor ), and
  • Bedding Conehead ( Strobilanthes isophyllus ).

    Doleschallia bisaltide
    (Photo: courtesy of Mark Hopkinson)

    The pupa is smooth and brown, with a curvy black line along each side, and a few yellow spots . It hangs by a silk cremaster from the foodplant.

    Doleschallia bisaltide
    (Photo: courtesy of Paul Ament, Sunshine Coast, Queensland)

    The adult butterflies have wings shaped so that the resting butterfly (with the wings closed over its back) looks like a leaf. There is a small tail to the hind wings. The upper surfaces of the wings are orange with a broad dark area around the wingtips.

    Doleschallia bisaltide
    (Photo: courtesy of Todd Burrows, South Stradbroke Island, Queensland)

    The undersides purplish-brown with a vein-like mark running across both the fore and hind wings.

    Doleschallia bisaltide
    Solomon Islands 1982

    The eggs are pale yellow and spherical, and are laid in small clusters on young growth of a foodplant.

    Doleschallia bisaltide

    The species is found across south-east Asia including :

  • India,
  • Malaysia,
  • New Caledonia,
  • Philippines,
  • Solomons
  • Thailand,

    and the subspecies australis C. & R. Felder, [1867], occurs in:

  • Queensland, and
  • New South Wales..

    Doleschallia bisaltide
    (Photo: courtesy of Todd Burrows, South Stradbroke Island, Queensland)

    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 563-564.

    Pieter Cramer,
    Description de Papillons Exotiques,
    Uitlandsche kapellen voorkomende in de drie waereld-deelen,
    Amsterdam Baalde, Volume 2 (1777), p. 9, figs. C, D, and Plate 102, figs. C, D.

    Frank Jordan & Helen Schwencke,
    Create More Butterflies : a guide to 48 butterflies and their host-plants
    Earthling Enterprises, Brisbane, 2005, pp. 27, 61, 64.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 21 February 2011, 16 December 2017, 16 February 2019, 15 June 2020)