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Butterflies

Overview

Butterflies, along with moths (which are dealt with in a separate section), belong to the Order Lepidoptera. We have over 400 species of butterfly in Australia, with over 40 species already identified by local people and visitors within the borders of the ALCW project. Our local butterflies belong to five families: the Skippers (Hesperiidae), Blues (Lycaenidae), Nymphs (Nymphalidae), Swallowtails (Papillionidae), and the Whites and Yellows (Pieridae).

While there are a handful of butterfly species which can be observed on the wing in any month of the year in the Coastal region, the butterfly season is generally from September through to April. Most species will fly for only a part of the season however. Butterflies prefer warm, sunny, calm weather, and it will be much easier to find butterflies in these conditions. Some species also prefer to fly at a certain time of the day. It is often easier to observe certain butterflies at high points in the landscape like hill summits, as their males congregate at such points to set up breeding territories; this behaviour is called hilltopping. Another easy way to find butterflies is to locate flowering plants and watch what butterflies come to visit.

When taking photos of butterflies, it is most helpful to obtain images of both the upperside (dorsal) view of the wings, in addition to the underside (vestral) view of the wings. This makes the identification process much easier for some of the hard-to-identify species. If possible, including features of the butterfly's surrounds for context can be helpful in determining the relative size of the butterfly. Bear in mind that as a butterfly ages, it can become quite tatty and faded, so that it may have chunks of a wing missing, or appear much paler than it otherwise appears in photos.

Some of the most commonly observed species around the coast include the Australian Painted Lady, Meadow Argus, Common Brown, Yellow Admiral, and the Black and Imperial Jezebels. In backyard suburban gardens, the Orchard Swallowtail will often be attracted to citrus plants and Cabbage Whites will be drawn to brassicas. Any patch of grass lawn will attract Common Grass-blues.

Butterflies are the adult stage of the life cycle (so it's important to note that if you see a small butterfly, it is not going to grow into a larger one, it will stay the same size!). Adult butterflies are the life stage responsible for the reproduction and dispersal of the species; the females lay eggs singly or in clusters on or near the larval food plant; the eggs then hatch into larvae (caterpillars), which are the life stage responsible for eating and growing; these then form a pupa (chrysalis), where the larval stage transforms into the adult butterfly. Some species will overwinter as eggs, or as larvae, or as pupae. Some species are migratory and do not breed here at all, and some species are only occasional vagrants to our area.

Page 1 of 58 species

Appias paulina (Common Albatross)

Appias paulina Max Campbell, Brogo, Male
Appias paulina Max Campbell, Brogo, Male
Appias paulina
Appias paulina

Argynnina cyrila (Forest Brown)

Argynnina cyrila note the 3 white spots on the outer edge of the forewing
Argynnina cyrila Kerri-Lee Harris, Wonboyn
Argynnina cyrila Kerri-Lee Harris, Wonboyn
Argynnina cyrila
Argynnina cyrila
Argynnina cyrila

Belenois java (Caper White)

Belenois java Caper White - Mollymook
Belenois java Caper White - Narrawallee
Belenois java
Belenois java

Candalides absimilis (Common Pencil-Blue)

Candalides xanthospilos (Yellow-spotted Blue)

Candalides xanthospilos Kerri-Lee Harris, Wonboyn
Candalides xanthospilos

Catopsilia pyranthe (White Migrant)

Catopsilia pyranthe White Migrant - Jervis Bay
Catopsilia pyranthe

Cephrenes augiades (Orange Palm-dart)

Cephrenes augiades ALA image
Cephrenes augiades

Charaxes sempronius (Tailed Emperor)

Charaxes sempronius Tailed Emporer-Milton
Charaxes sempronius Tailed Emporer-Milton
Charaxes sempronius
Charaxes sempronius

Danaus chrysippus (Lesser Wanderer)

Danaus chrysippus Max Campbell, Eden
Danaus chrysippus

Danaus plexippus (Monarch)

Danaus plexippus Manarch - Culburra
Danaus plexippus Monarch - Ulladulla
Danaus plexippus Monarch - Malua Bay
Danaus plexippus
Danaus plexippus
Danaus plexippus

Delias aganippe (Red-spotted Jezebel)

Delias aganippe Red Spotted Jezebel - Lake Conjola
Delias aganippe Red Spotted Jezebel - Ulladulla
Delias aganippe
Delias aganippe

Delias harpalyce (Imperial Jezebel)

Delias harpalyce Imperial Jezebel - Burrill Lake
Delias harpalyce Max Campbell
Delias harpalyce Max Campbell, Brogo, Larvae (Delias sp.) feeding on Mistletoe
Delias harpalyce
Delias harpalyce
Delias harpalyce

Delias nigrina (Black Jezebel)

Delias nigrina Black Jezebel - Fishermans Paradise
Delias nigrina B;ack Jezebel - Mogo State Forest
Delias nigrina Max Campbell, Brogo, Pupae (Delias sp.) on Mistletoe
Delias nigrina
Delias nigrina
Delias nigrina

Delias nysa (Yellow-spotted Jezebel)

Delias nysa Yellow-spotted Jezebel - North Head Ulladulla
Delias nysa

Dispar compacta (Dispar Skipper)

Dispar compacta Max Campbell, Brogo
Dispar compacta Max Campbell, Brogo
Dispar compacta
Dispar compacta

Eurema smilax (Small Grass-yellow)

Eurema smilax Photo ALA cc
Eurema smilax

Geitoneura acantha (Ringed Xenica)

Geitoneura acantha Ringed Xenica - Sanctuary Point
Geitoneura acantha Kerri-Lee Harris, Wonboyn
Geitoneura acantha Kerri-Lee Harris, Wonboyn
Geitoneura acantha
Geitoneura acantha
Geitoneura acantha

Geitoneura klugii (Klug's Xenica / Marbled Xenica)

Geitoneura klugii
Geitoneura klugii
Geitoneura klugii
Geitoneura klugii

Graphium macleayanus (Macleay's Swallowtail)

Graphium macleayanus Macleay's Swallowtail - Porters Crk Dam
Graphium macleayanus Macleay's Swallowtail - Mongo
Graphium macleayanus Macleay's Swallowtail - Morton National Park
Graphium macleayanus
Graphium macleayanus
Graphium macleayanus

Graphium sarpedon (Blue Triangle)

Graphium sarpedon Blue Triangle - Sanctuary Point
Graphium sarpedon Blue Triangle - Yattee Yattah
Graphium sarpedon Blue Triangle - Bombaderry
Graphium sarpedon
Graphium sarpedon
Graphium sarpedon

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326406 sightings of 6739 species in 883 locations from 521 members
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