30 Butterfly Species in New South Wales

Have you ever marvelled at the colourful wonder that is a butterfly?

New South Wales, Australia is home to around 400 species of these delicate creatures.

Here, we’ll focus on 30 of the most intriguing and beautiful species found within the region.

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

The Monarch butterfly, quite a charming creature, is one of the most recognizable species.

Monarch Butterfly

  • Habitat: You’ll typically find them in open spaces, like fields and meadows. Partially because their host plant, the milkweed, tends to thrive there.
  • Appearance: Sporting a vibrant orange and black pattern, contrasted by white spots, these butterflies easily stand out.
  • Size: Monarchs are also sizable, with a wingspan ranging from 8.6 to 12.4 cm.
  • Diet: As adults, they sip on nectar from a variety of flowers, but milkweed is vital during their caterpillar stage.
  • Reproduction: Each year, they undergo 4 generations – each lays eggs and then passes away in a multi-generational migration.
  • Lifespan: Most live a few weeks, but the last generation, hatching in Autumn, may live up to 8 months, as they migrate to warmer climates.
  • Host Plants: Milkweeds are the sole host plant for Monarch caterpillars, offering them the nutrients they need for metamorphosis.

Blue Tiger Butterfly (Tirumala hamata)

Your journey through the butterfly species in New South Wales continues.

Blue Tiger Butterfly butterfly

Meet the Blue Tiger Butterfly, also known as ‘Tirumala hamata’. It’s a treat for the eyes.

  • Habitat: Primarily, it favors coastal regions, though you can spot them in your backyard if you are lucky.
  • Appearance: It boasts of striking black and blue patterns that make it stand out.
  • Size: Typically, they range from a 70 to 75 mm wingspan, perfect for their blue-and-black show.
  • Diet: Mostly feed on nectar from flowers, but as caterpillars, they mainly consume the White Mangrove or Milky Mangrove.
  • Reproduction: Breeding all year around, they lay their spherical, cream-colored eggs on the leaves of host plants.
  • Lifespan: They don’t have the longest lifespan among butterflies, typically living 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Host Plants: The larvae love to munch on the leaves of the native and introduced Milkweeds or Cottonwoods.

Beautiful, isn’t it? The Blue Tiger Butterfly is undoubtedly a spectacle of nature’s color palette.

Now, let’s move on to the next butterfly.

Australian Painted Lady (Vanessa kershawi)

I’d love to introduce you to the Australian Painted Lady, also known as Vanessa kershawi.

Australian Painted Lady Butterfly

Residing primarily in Australia, it is a colourful and exquisite species.

  • Habitat: Its habitat spans different regions, but mostly in urban areas, forests, and open landscapes.
  • Appearance: It showcases an impressive palette of colours. The upper side of their wings is generally warm brown with orange touch and a striking blue centre at the hindwing edge.
  • Size: Females are bigger than males, with a wingspan ranging between 40 and 45mm.
  • Diet: For nourishment, they primarily rely on nectar from a variety of flowers.
  • Reproduction: During breeding, female Painted Ladies lay their eggs on host plants.
  • Lifespan: Their life cycle consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult, with a lifespan of 2-4 weeks in their final form.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillars prefer to feed on everlasting daisy and thistles.

Isn’t nature’s diversity just amazing?

Common Eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina)

Immerse yourself in the world of the Common Eggfly, a remarkable butterfly often seen flitting around your local park or garden.

Common Eggfly butterfly

  • Habitat: Ever versatile, they inhabit suburban gardens, rainforests, and coastal areas, adapting well to various climates.
  • Appearance: It showcases black wings with distinct white and indigo spots, lending it a captivating appeal.
  • Size: With a wingspan that can reach up to 85mm, it’s a sight to behold indeed.
  • Diet: Adult Eggflies mainly feed on nectar, showcasing their knack for embracing the sweet life.
  • Reproduction: They lay pale green eggs, which eventually hatch into caterpillars with an astonishing appetite.
  • Lifespan: A brief yet astounding life, they typically live for 1 to 2 weeks as butterflies.
  • Host Plants: Interestingly, these butterflies favor plants from the Acanthaceae family, such as Ruellia and Blechum, satiating the voracious appetite of their caterpillars.

This fascinating insect truly adds a dash of color and intrigue to our everyday natural surroundings.

Meadow Argus (Junonia villida)

Visiting NSW’s grassy woodlands and forest edges? Make sure to look out for our fluttery friend, the Meadow Argus.

Meadow Argus butterfly

  • Habitat: Prefers the open woodlands, forest edges, or human-modified grassy patches.
  • Appearance: They sport a brownish hue speckled with white and black spots on the top wings, while the undersides are more muted in palette.
  • Size: A mature Meadow Argus has a wingspan between 45 to 55mm. Quite the sight!
  • Diet: The adults predominantly feed on nectar from a wide range of flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: Fascinatingly, the female can lay anywhere from 200 to 600 eggs in her lifetime.
  • Lifespan: Meadow Argus usually lives for around four weeks as an adult butterfly, with a total lifecycle spanning several months.
  • Host Plants: It particularly enjoys the rambling dock, creeping knotweed, and native sorrel as host plants.

Remember, they’re more active on warm sunny days. So, bonus points if you spot one!

Chequered Swallowtail (Papilio demoleus)

Chequered Swallowtail, also known as Lime Butterfly, is a common and widespread butterfly found in various habitats in New South Wales.

Chequered Swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: They prefer open and disturbed habitats, including gardens and parks.
  • Appearance: They exhibit striking yellow and black chequered patterns on wings.
  • Size: Adults have a wingspan range of 6 to 9 cm.
  • Diet: Adult butterflies feed on nectar from various flowers whereas caterpillars feed on citrus plants like Lime.
  • Reproduction: Adult females lay pale yellow eggs on leaves of host plants.
  • Lifespan: Adult butterflies live for about a month.
  • Host Plants: The commonly used host plants include Citrus species, particularly limes and lemons.

Observing these butterflies in your garden is a delight, thanks to their vibrant patterns and active nature. They have a rapid and erratic flight which is a spectacle in itself.

Orchard Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio aegeus)

Let’s delve into the intriguing world of the Orchard Swallowtail Butterfly. This butterfly, a common resident of New South Wales, is one you might’ve come across without realizing it.

Orchard Swallowtail butterfly

  • Habitat: Often found in gardens and orchards, hence the name, also forests.
  • Appearance: Black with white spots across wings. Females sport red and blue spots on the upper side of the rear wings.
  • Size: One of the largest in the state, with females reaching up to 14 cm across.
  • Diet: Despite their size, they feed on simple stuff- nectar from flowers.
  • Reproduction: Females lay lime-green eggs on the upper side of host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: Adult butterflies live for about one month.
  • Host Plants: Usual diet includes citrus plants, like limes, lemons, oranges, grapefruit – perhaps another reason for the ‘Orchard’ in their name.

Its presence is often charming to enthusiasts and gardeners alike. Despite its size and striking appearance, it is harmless to humans.

So next time you spot one dancing around a citrus tree, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking at.

Common Jezebel (Delias nigrina)

The Common Jezebel is one of the many vibrant butterfly species in New South Wales that will steal your heart.

common jezebel butterfly

It’s endemic to Australia and can be seen throughout the year.

  • Habitat: This species thrives in suburban gardens, bushlands, and rainforests. They mostly stay high up in the trees.
  • Appearance: Common Jezebels are renowned for their striking black and white markings, contrasted by vivid yellow and red undersides.
  • Size: A mid-size butterfly, they have a wingspan of approximately 6-7cm.
  • Diet: The adults primarily feed on nectar from a variety of flowers.
  • Reproduction: Not much is known about their mating habits. Females lay eggs on mistletoes growing in eucalypt trees.
  • Lifespan: Approximately 2-4 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Mistletoes which grow on eucalypts are their preferred host plants for laying eggs and for the caterpillars to feed on.

This splendid beauty will surely be a delightful sight on your nature walks.

Australian Crow (Euploea core)

The Australian Crow butterfly, or the Euploea core, is among the striking species native to New South Wales.

Australian Crow butterfly

It’s not only a smart traveler but also a devoted parent.

  • Habitat: You’ll typically find them in forest clearings and margins, but they also inhabit suburban gardens and parks.
  • Appearance: These butterflies are characterized by their black wings, which are speckled with small white dots along the edges.
  • Size: They’re moderately sized, sporting a wingspan of around 8 to 9.5 cm.
  • Diet: As adult butterflies, they primarily feed on the nectar of various flowers.
  • Reproduction: Interesting fact here – the females lay their eggs on the underside of leaves, where the larvae consume the plant as they grow.
  • Lifespan: They live for approximately 11 months, slightly longer than most butterfly species.
  • Host Plants: Caterpillars of the Australian Crow are specially adapted to feed on plants that are poisonous to others, notably the Oleander bush.

Pale Triangle (Graphium eurypylus)

The Pale Triangle, scientific name Graphium eurypylus, is one of the distinctive butterfly species you might encounter while traversing the natural landscapes of New South Wales.

Pale Triangle_99A0777

  • Habitat: Found widely in the woodlands, forests, and suburban gardens.
  • Appearance: Wear an appealing coat of cream-coloured upper wings marked by black veins, with a noticeable triangle at the centre.
  • Size: Feature medium to large size, with a wingspan ranging from 70mm to 100mm.
  • Diet: Adult Pale Triangles feed on nectar from a variety of flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: The female lays spherical eggs on the leaves of suitable host plants.
  • Lifespan: Their life cycle includes four stages: egg, larvae (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis), and adult. Each stage takes about a week, and adults live for a few weeks.
  • Host Plants: Primarily feed on members of the family Annonaceae, like custard apples and their relatives.

Dainty Swallowtail (Papilio anactus)

The Dainty Swallowtail has a special place among butterfly species found in New South Wales.

Dainty Swallowtail : Feeding . . . flapping . . .

  • Habitat: This species is widely distributed and can be mostly found in urban areas, forests, and woodlands.
  • Appearance: It boasts a striking black body with yellow spots and a yellow band around the edge of the wings, all contributing to a truly dainty look.
  • Size: It has a wingspan that falls between 7cm to 9.5cm.
  • Diet: As adults, they feed on nectar from a variety of flowers. The caterpillars consume leaves from the citrus family.
  • Reproduction: The female lays her eggs on the leaves of host plants. These eggs then hatch into caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: They have a short life span of around two weeks as adult butterflies.
  • Host Plants: Citrus plants are their favourites, including lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit trees.

This species is easy to identify and always a joy to spot!

Eastern Brown Crow (Euploea tulliolus)

The Eastern Brown Crow (Euploea tulliolus) is one of the many butterfly species found in New South Wales.

Call Me Blue ^-^

Noteworthy for its unique presence, the Eastern Brown Crow captures effortlessly the natural charm of the Australian landscapes.

  • Habitat: Primarily populates open forests and woodlands.
  • Appearance: Features a brown color with white spots on its wings.
  • Size: Typically, the adult’s wingspan ranges between 80-90 mm.
  • Diet: Mainly feasts on the nectar from flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: Lays eggs on the underside of leaves of the host plant.
  • Lifespan: Adult lifespan lasts around 2-3 weeks in the wild.
  • Host Plants: Primary host plants are species of Ficus.

So, take a moment to appreciate the nature when you next encounter the Eastern Brown Crow. Its impressive resilience and subtle grace make it a captivating sight.

Caper White (Belenois java)

The Caper White, scientifically named Belenois java, is a fascinating addition to the spectrum of butterflies found in New South Wales.

Caper White butterfly

  • Habitat: It adapts dramatically well, with a range covering semi-arid regions to lush green coastal areas.
  • Appearance: Its upper side is mainly white, accented with black tips on the forewings. Its lower side features yellowish-white with gray markings.
  • Size: The Caper White has a moderately large wingspan, measuring between 45-55mm.
  • Diet: Adults subsists primarily on nectar from flowers and overripe fruits.
  • Reproduction: Females lay bunches of eggs on the underside of leaves, which mature into caterpillars. Over time, these caterpillars change into chrysalises before emerging as adults.
  • Lifespan: An adult Caper White has a lifespan of around 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillars feed voraciously on caper bushes, hence earning them their name.

Tailed Emperor (Polyura sempronius)

The Tailed Emperor, a distinctively regal butterfly, is noted for its sweeping wings and unique shape.

Tailed Emperor butterfly

Belonging to the Nymphalidae family, it’s one of the most frequently encountered NSW butterflies.

So let’s dive into some fascinating facts about this creature:

  • Habitat: It can be found widely in forests, woodlands and urban parks across New South Wales.
  • Appearance: Brown wings with white streaks and noticeable tails on the hind wings.
  • Size: Quite large, reaching a wingspan up to 8 centimeters.
  • Diet: The adult butterflies devour nectar from a multitude of flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: After mating, females deposit eggs on the foliage of host plants.
  • Lifespan: Adult butterflies have a lifespan of around four weeks.
  • Host Plants: Primarily feeds on Fabaceae, such as Acacia and Albizia species.

The Tailed Emperor is quite a sight to behold, making any encounter with one a truly memorable experience.

Small Grass-yellow (Eurema smilax)

You’ll find the Small Grass-yellow in urban areas, forests, and grasslands. Recognize it through its yellow wings bearing black edges, creating a beautiful contrast.

Small Grass-yellow butterfly

This butterfly is small, with a wingspan of just 30mm.

It mainly feeds on flower nectar. In its reproduction phase, the female lays pale green eggs.

Although the lifespan hasn’t been specifically quantified, like most butterflies, it’s probably a few weeks.

The Small Grass-yellow lays eggs on the Creeping Indigo and Yellow Wood sorrel.

Below is a summary of some key features:

  • Habitat: Urban areas, forests, and grasslands
  • Appearance: Yellow wings with black edges
  • Size: Wingspan around 30mm
  • Diet: Mainly flower nectar
  • Reproduction: Pale green eggs
  • Lifespan: Presumably a few weeks
  • Host Plants: Creeping Indigo and Yellow Wood sorrel

Easy to spot and observe, this butterfly is a joy to watch as it flutters in its natural habitat. It is indeed a symbol of the rich biodiversity in New South Wales.

Glasswing Butterfly (Acraea andromacha)

The Glasswing Butterfly, or Acraea andromacha, is a truly unique species that can leave anyone mesmerized.

Glasswing Butterfly

Here are the key details about this butterfly:

  • Habitat: These butterflies thrive best in coastal areas, rainforests and urban gardens of New South Wales.
  • Appearance: Imagine a butterfly with translucent wings that seem to be made out of glass – that’s the kind of beauty these creatures radiate.
  • Size: Females are larger than males, with sizes generally between 50mm to 60mm.
  • Diet: The Caterpillars of this species enjoy feed on the Green-leaved Birthwort plant.
  • Reproduction: They reproduce like other butterflies, with females laying eggs on host plants.
  • Lifespan: The exact lifespan is unknown, but like most butterfly species, it is quite short.
  • Host Plants: The birthwort plant species, more specifically the Aristolochia tagala and A. praevenosa plants, form the Glasswing’s preferred host.

The Glasswing Butterfly adds a touch of enchantment to the rich biodiversity of New South Wales.

Greenish Grass-dart (Ocybadistes walkeri)

The Greenish Grass-dart is an alluring species with a unique profile.

Greenish Grass-dart butterfly

Let’s sift through some telling details about this fascinating butterfly:

  • Habitat: These butterflies are generally found in pastures and suburban regions, particularly around Sydney.
  • Appearance: As the name suggests, the Greenish Grass-dart carries a distinctive greenish and brown hue on its wings.
  • Size: They aren’t among the larger species, measuring a modest 20-25 mm in wingspan.
  • Diet: As caterpillars, they feed on various native grass species, while adult butterflies drink nectar from flowers.
  • Reproduction: They lay their eggs on the leaves of food plants. After hatching, the caterpillars stay put to feed.
  • Lifespan: Adults typically live for a few weeks, although the entire lifecycle to turn from an egg to adult can take months.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillars feed on native grasses, including Panic Veldtgrass and Weeping Lovegrass.

Next time you spot one in a NSW meadow, remember – they’re more than just a pretty set of wings!

Blue Argus (Junonia orithya)

The Blue Argus, known scientifically as Junonia orithya, is an exquisite creature native to New South Wales.

Blue Pansy Butterfly

Allow me to share a few noteworthy facts about their existence.

  • Habitat: This species is commonly found in savanna woodlands and garden landscapes.
  • Appearance: Blue Argus butterflies’ wings are noticeably marked with black, white and vibrant blue patterns, giving them a unique and pleasing aesthetic.
  • Size: Adult butterflies can have a wingspan ranging from 45 to 55mm.
  • Diet: Adult Blue Argus butterflies mainly nectar from flowers and their caterpillar prefers plant leaves.
  • Reproduction: They breed during the warmer months, leaving their eggs on the leaves of several species of plants.
  • Lifespan: The life cycle of a Blue Argus lasts around 5 weeks from egg to adult.
  • Host Plants: They lay their eggs on various plants, but a favourite is the Ruellia species.

It’s quite fascinating, isn’t it? These beautiful creatures keep our environment lively and colourful.

Sword-grass Brown (Tisiphone abeona)

Let’s talk about the Sword-grass Brown, a beautiful and fascinating species of butterfly native to New South Wales.

Varied Sword-grass Brown (Tisiphone abeona)

  • Habitat: These butterflies bloom particularly towards coastal regions, often found buzzing among Australian scrub and woodland environments remarkably.
  • Appearance: They boast attractive black wings with flushes of red brown, and white markings on the wing edges make them visually appealing.
  • Size: Typically, Sword-grass Browns have a wingspan ranging between 70 and 80 millimeters.
  • Diet: As caterpillars, they munch on various sword-grass species. Once they’ve matured, the butterfly diet mainly consists of nectar from surrounding flowers.
  • Reproduction: Their reproduction cycle is mainly during spring and summer, making it the ideal time to spot their delicate eggs on grass-tips.
  • Lifespan: The lifespan of Sword-grass Brown butterflies, from egg to adult, is typically around 9 weeks.
  • Host Plants: The host plants are predominantly Gahnia and Lomandra species, which are native Australian grasses.

These incredible tiny creatures are indeed worthy of your admiration. Their delicate yet powerful existence is a testament to their survival and reproduction strategies.

Australian Admiral (Vanessa itea)

The Australian Admiral is a fascinating butterfly species that you can spot in New South Wales.

Yellow Admiral butterfly

  • Habitat: The Australian Admiral prefers gardens, woodlands, and rainforests, but they can survive diverse urban environments too.
  • Appearance: This butterfly is quite a stunner with its dark brown upper wings featuring bands of white and red-orange, while the underwings display a cryptic grey pattern.
  • Size: The average adult Australian Admiral has a wingspan of about 60-70 mm, which brings a delightful sight amid nature.
  • Diet: Its diet primarily consists of nectar from flowers, but it also feeds on honeydew.
  • Reproduction: Females lay pale green eggs, often on the leaves of nettles – the food plant for their caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: Expect an Australian Admiral’s lifespan to span about a month in the wild.
  • Host Plants: For their caterpillars, host plants like the Australian Mulberry and the Stinging Nettle are common choices.

This butterfly brings a burst of color to New South Wales’ wildlife scene indeed.

Purple Crow (Euploea tulliolus)

The Purple Crow, often referred to as the ‘Euploea tulliolus’ is captivating, and here’s why.

Purple Crow (Euploea tulliolus pollita)

  • Habitat: These butterflies favour forested areas, often seen near the coastal regions of New South Wales.
  • Appearance: The Purple Crow is largely black with a purple sheen, hence its name. This glistening purple tint is prominent in direct sunlight.
  • Size: They are quite large, usually having a wingspan of around 8-9cm.
  • Diet: They feed primarily on nectar from various flowers. During spring and summer, they’re often seen feasting on Buddleia flowers.
  • Reproduction: The female lays eggs on the undersides of host plant leaves, and the lifecycle continues.
  • Lifespan: It has a usual lifespan ranging from 9-12 weeks for adults.
  • Host Plants: The main host plants of the Purple Crow are the Parsonsia vines.

Isn’t the Purple Crow astonishing? It is a grand part of the butterfly population found in New South Wales.

Green Banded Blue (Psychonotis caelius)

Have you ever seen a Green Banded Blue? This is a small, fascinating butterfly species with an amazing, striking blue and green color pattern.

Small Green-banded Blue (Psychonotis caelius)

Let’s learn more.

  • Habitat: They love the warm habitats of the subtropical rainforest areas along the eastern seaboard, from New South Wales to North Queensland.
  • Appearance: As their name suggests, these butterflies boast green bands on their bluish wings. Look closely and you’ll see white spots too.
  • Size: Typically, they’re a petite species, spanning about 20-30mm.
  • Diet: Adult Green Banded Blues feed on nectar from various flowers, while the larvae munch on the leaves of their host plants.
  • Reproduction: Female butterflies lay their pale green eggs on the buds of their preferred host plants.
  • Lifespan: These delicate creatures lead brief lives, typically lasting just a couple of weeks.
  • Host Plants: Green Banded Blues prefer plants from the pea family, such as ‘Desmodium’ species and ‘Vigna lanceolata’.

Aren’t they just interesting? These fleeting, delicate creatures add an incredible splash of color to their environment.

Two-spotted Line-blue (Nacaduba biocellata)

Meet the Two-spotted Line-blue, a small butterfly that calls New South Wales home.

Two-spotted Line-blue butterfly

Here’s what you need to know about this fascinating creature:

  • Habitat: The Two-spotted Line-blue can be found in a range of habitats from suburban gardens to open forests.
  • Appearance: This butterfly is known for its beautiful blue upper wings. Its lower wings boast two notable black spots encircled by an eye-catching pale area.
  • Size: They are small, with a wingspan ranging from 20 to 24 millimeters.
  • Diet: Nectar from a variety of flowers serves as the Two-spotted Line-blue’s primary food source.
  • Reproduction: The females lay their eggs individually on the shoots of a host plant.
  • Lifespan: This species typically lives for about one month once emerged from the pupae.
  • Host Plants: The Two-spotted Line-blue prefers Mistletoes and Legumes species as their host plants.

These features make the Two-spotted Line-blue a distinct species in the butterfly world.

Varied Dusky-blue (Candalides hyacinthina)

The Varied Dusky-blue butterfly is yet another beautiful addition you can spot fluttering around in New South Wales.


  • Habitat: It prefers to be close to the coastline but has been spotted inland in hilly areas.
  • Appearance: An irresistible cobalt-blue colour on the upper side of their wings coupled with a dazzling pattern of spots on the underside make them aesthetically pleasing.
  • Size: Adult Dusky-blues aren’t particularly large, with a wingspan ranging from 20 to 30 millimetres.
  • Diet: Larvae feed majorly on the leaves of host plants. Adults, as usual, fancy the nectar of flowers.
  • Reproduction: The female lays eggs individually on the leaves of host plants.
  • Lifespan: Like most butterfly species, the Dusky-blue lives for around a month in its final butterfly stage.
  • Host Plants: They lay their eggs on various host plants, including Daviesia, Pultenaea, and Jacksonia.

Amethyst Jewel (Hypochrysops amaryllis)

Considered to be one of the most beautiful butterflies, the Amethyst Jewel is a joy to behold. Don’t let its beauty fool you!

This butterfly is a tough survivor. Now let’s find more about it:

  • Habitat: You’ll mostly spot them in the east coast of Australia, in open woodlands and forests.
  • Appearance: The upper part of their wings shines in a stunning purple-blue hue. You’ll also notice rows of white spots along the edges.
  • Size: You’re looking at a medium-sized butterfly, reaching a maximum wingspan of about 4 cm.
  • Diet: Get this: adult Amethyst Jewel eats nothing but plant nectar.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the leaves of specific plants. Wait until you see the gleaming metallic blue larvae.
  • Lifespan: Sleek and agile, these butterflies can live as long as a month.
  • Host Plants: Adults often favour acacias, a type of plant found aplenty in their habitat.

Their beauty and resilience truly set them apart, making them one of the highlights of New South Wales butterfly fauna.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Hesperilla crypsargyra)

One intriguing species fluttering around New South Wales is the Silver-spotted Skipper. The life of this fascinating creature surrounds some intriguing characteristics.

Silver-spotted Skipper butterfly

Let’s take a closer glance:

  • Habitat: Prefers grassy terrain in open woodland areas. Their common haunts are coastal dunes and heathland.
  • Appearance: Has a prominent silver spot on the underside of their hind wings, hence the name. The top side of their wings is brown with lighter margins.
  • Size: A small butterfly with a wingspan measuring around 25-30 mm.
  • Diet: Primarily feeds on flower nectar and occasionally sups on tree sap.
  • Reproduction: Known for their distinctive mating ritual, where males ‘skip’ around females in flight.
  • Lifespan: Up to a month in their adult form, spending the majority of their time seeking mating opportunities.
  • Host Plants: Favors the Wallaby grass, providing the main source of food for their catering stage.

The Silver-spotted Skipper contributes to a vibrant ecosystem, and truly makes butterfly-watching in New South Wales a real delight.

Fiery Skipper (Hylephila phyleus)

The Fiery Skipper, scientifically known as Hylephila phyleus, is a fascinating butterfly species you may come across in New South Wales.

Fiery Skipper butterfly

Here are some key details about this unique creature:

  • Habitat: The Fiery Skipper is widely distributed and is usually found in open sunny areas such as parks, yards and roadsides.
  • Appearance: Predominantly honey brown or orange, it gets its name from the fiery red-orange patches on the wings.
  • Size: They are relatively small with a wingspan of around 25 to 30mm.
  • Diet: Adult Fiery Skippers feed on nectar from a variety of flowers.
  • Reproduction: Female Skippers lay single, pale green eggs on host plants.
  • Lifespan: The life cycle from egg to adult takes about a month, and adults live for a few weeks.
  • Host Plants: They lay their eggs on specific grasses, Bermuda grass being a common example.

Knowing these interesting facts, you’ll definitely appreciate their presence more the next time you spot one.

Eastern Ringed Xenica (Geitoneura acantha)

The Eastern Ringed Xenica is a butterfly species native to New South Wales.

Eastern Ringed Xenica

With its nuanced mingling of brown and cream hues, it’s a delightful sight for every butterfly watcher.

  • Habitat: It tends to thrive in moist eucalyptus forests, primarily in the coastal regions of the state.
  • Appearance: The Eastern Ringed Xenica sports brown wings with cream bands and dots, arranged in a ring pattern on the upper wings.
  • Size: Adult Xenica butterflies typically reach a wingspan of about 40 to 45 millimeters.
  • Diet: The Xenica, like most butterflies, feeds on the nectar of various plants.
  • Reproduction: Female Xenicas lay eggs on the underside of the host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: Adult Xenicas live around one month during summer.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillars of this species primarily consume native grasses, such as Kangaroo grass and Wallaby grass.

The Eastern Ringed Xenica is a charming inhabitant of New South Wales, playing its part in the state’s bustling ecosystem.

Klug’s Xenica (Geitoneura klugii)

Let’s delve into the world of Klug’s Xenica, a fantastic butterfly species you won’t want to miss.

Klug's Xenica

To truly appreciate this beautiful insect, here’s what you should know:

  • Habitat: Klug’s Xenica prefers grasslands, open woodlands and forested areas.
  • Appearance: It has a lovely pattern of streaks, brown and orange scales covering its wings with small white spots, and dark patches on the tips.
  • Size: Size can vary, but they usually span from 35 to 45 mm.
  • Diet: As larvae, they feed on various grasses. As adults, nectar serves as their primary food source.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs in batches on host plants.
  • Lifespan: They have a short lifespan, typically 2-4 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Kangaroo Grass and Speargrass are common host plants for their larvae.

Pay close attention and you might just spot Klug’s Xenica fluttering by in New South Wales. It’s truly a sight to behold!

Australian Rustic (Cupha prosope)

When you’re exploring the unique fauna of New South Wales, one butterfly you’re bound to stumble upon is the Australian Rustic (Cupha prosope).

Bordered Rustic (Cupha prosope)

With a perfect blend of beauty and resilience, this butterfly species has become an enduring symbol of the region’s diversified wildlife.

  • Habitat: You’ll usually spot Australian Rustics in rainforest areas. They love subtropical locations, but can also flourish in city parks and gardens.
  • Appearance: The Australian Rustic has brown wings patterned with white and dark brown marks. It’s mesmerising to gaze upon.
  • Size: Medium-sized, Australian Rustics have a wingspan of around 55-60 mm.
  • Diet: As a caterpillar, it munches on various plant species. As an adult, it feeds on nectar from flowers.
  • Reproduction: The female lays eggs on various host plants. Larvae appear in one to two weeks.
  • Lifespan: It has an average life span of 14 days.
  • Host Plants: The Australian Rustic prefers fig trees, mango trees, and several other types of trees and shrubs.

This winged beauty carries the charm of the wild in its delicate flutter. No journey into New South Wales’ biodiversity would be complete without an encounter with the Australian Rustic.


In conclusion, New South Wales is blessed with a vast and unique variety of butterfly species.

Each butterfly brings a unique beauty, captivating details and fascinating behaviours, making it an entomologist’s dream.

Don’t hesitate to leave a comment and tell us which species fascinates you the most!

Butterflies   Updated: July 3, 2023
avatar Welcome to Insectic, a blog to learn about insects and bugs. I'm Richard, and I've created this website to share my experience, knowledge, and passion with others.

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