Catopsilia pomona (Fabricius, 1775)
Lemon Migrant
(one synonym : Colias jugurthina Godart, 1819)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Catopsilia pomona
(Specimen: courtesy of the Butterfly House, Coffs Harbour)

The Caterpillar is green with a dark dorsal stripe, and has a pale green head with black dots. The foodplants of this caterpillar are various Australian native species in the family CAESALPINIACEAE, such as :

  • Brewster's Cassia ( Cassia brewsteri ),
  • Pink Lady ( Cassia javanica ),
  • Mark's Cassia ( Cassia marksiana ),
  • Queensland Cassia ( Cassia queenslandica ),
  • Velvet Bean ( Cassia tomentella ),
  • Candle Bush ( Senna alata ),
  • Jewelled Senna ( Senna coronilloides ),
  • Weedy Senna ( Senna magnifolia ),
  • Scented Senna ( Senna odorata ),
  • Chocolate Bush ( Senna pleurocarpa ), and
  • Candlestick Senna ( Senna venusta ).

    as well as the exotics :

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

    The caterpillar usually rests lying along the midrib of a leaf, making it very difficult to see.

    Catopsilia pomona
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Butterfly House, Coffs Harbour)

    The pupa is also hard to see, as it closely resembles a leaf. It is green with a pointed head, and often attached upright to a stem of the foodplant by cremaster and girdle.

    Catopsilia pomona
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The adults have a wingspan up to 6 cms. The wings of the male are white with black wingtips, and a yellow blush toward the hinges.

    Catopsilia pomona
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The wings of the female are pale yellow with black edges and spots.

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

    Underneath, the wings are dirty white with dark orange markings.

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

    The eggs are pale yellow and barrel-shaped with ribs. They are laid singly on leaflets of a foodplant.

    The species occurs from Madagascar through south-east Asia, including :

  • Cambodia,
  • China,
  • India,
  • Malaysia,
  • New Guinea,

    and in Australia in:

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

    Catopsilia pomona
    (Photo: courtesy of Ian McMillan, Imbil, Queensland)

    This species is featured at Coffs Harbour Butterfly House. Butterflies of this species may be purchased for release at weddings etc.

    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 291-293.

    Johan Christian Fabricius,
    Historiae Natvralis Favtoribvs,
    Systema Entomologiae (1775), p. 479, No. 158.

    Frank Jordan & Helen Schwencke,
    Create More Butterflies : a guide to 48 butterflies and their host-plants
    Earthling Enterprises, Brisbane, 2005, p. 28.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 223.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 4 December 2009, 20 september 2013, 19 March 2015, 10 June 2020, 4 July 2021)