30 Butterfly Species in Northern Territory of Australia

Welcome to the colorful world of butterflies in Australia’s Northern Territory. Home to an incredible array of over 400 butterfly species, 30 of which we will explore today.

Let’s dive in and flutter through these fascinating and diverse creatures.

Common Crow (Euploea core)

Common Crow, also known as Euploea core, is a fascinating species of butterfly that graces the Northern Territory of Australia.

Common Crow butterfly

Abundantly found across the territory, it showcases a unique combination of resilience and beauty.

  • Habitat: It primarily inhabits tropical rainforests, but can also adapt to suburban gardens.
  • Appearance: It has a glossy black body marked by small white spots on the wings, the Common Crow tends to grab your attention at first glance.
  • Size: Adult butterflies range in size from 8 to 10 centimeters.
  • Diet: Nectar feeders, they lap up the sweet fluid from a variety of flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: Female butterflies lay their eggs on the leaves of host plants where the larvae can find plenty of food.
  • Lifespan: Their lifecycle, starting from an egg and evolving into a beautiful butterfly, spans from 11 to 41 days.
  • Host Plants: Similar to their varied diet, they use a range of host plants to lay their eggs; the most common are the flowering plants of Apocynaceae family.

Chequered Swallowtail (Papilio demoleus)

The Chequered Swallowtail, also known by its scientific name, Papilio demoleus.

Chequered Swallowtail butterfly

This is an impressive butterfly species you’ll find in the Northern Territory of Australia, with distinctive characteristics.

  • Habitat: Adaptable to various environments, these butterflies are common in urban areas, forests, and mangroves.
  • Appearance: They are mainly recognized by their chequered black and yellow wing patterns.
  • Size: Typically, they have a wingspan that varies from 80 to 90 mm.
  • Diet: Adult Chequered Swallowtails feed on flower nectar while the larvae eat leaves from citrus and rue plants.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the leaves of host plants and these eggs hatch into caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: Their life cycle includes four stages – egg, larva, pupa, and adult – and lasts for about a month.
  • Host Plants: Preferred host plants are from the Rutaceae family including citrus trees.

Ulysses Butterfly (Papilio ulysses)

Swooping through the Australian wilderness, you’ll find the vibrant Ulysses Butterfly, or Papilio ulysses.

Ulysses Butterfly

Known for their eye-catching allure, these butterflies are true marvels in nature.

  • Habitat: Prefer rainforests, gardens, and woodland areas.
  • Appearance: Electric blue wings with a dark outline, black body. A perfect example of “Nature’s Art.”
  • Size: A substantial wingspan, reaching up to 14cm.
  • Diet: They love the nourishing nectar from flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: Females lay lime green eggs on leaves; transforming into a caterpillar then a beautiful butterfly.
  • Lifespan: Around 6 weeks. Time is precious for these beauties.
  • Host Plants: Mostly, Evodia species, their favourite hangout.

Keep an eye out next time you are out and about in the Northern Territory of Australia, you might spot one of these azure marvels fluttering amidst the lush foliage.

Orchard Swallowtail (Papilio aegeus)

When it comes to visual charm, the Orchard Swallowtail is a major crowd-pleaser.

Orchard Swallowtail butterfly

This butterfly is native to Australia and popular in the Northern Territory.

  • Habitat: They love gardens and forests.
  • Appearance: They are black and white, and the females have blue spots.
  • Size: They are big butterflies, with a wingspan of 14cm.
  • Diet: They love to feast on nectar.
  • Reproduction: Females lay pale-green eggs on new growth.
  • Lifespan: Adult Orchard Swallowtails live for about 4 weeks.
  • Host Plants: They lay eggs on many different kinds of plants, such as citrus species and natives like finger limes and round-leafed cinnamon wattle.

Next time you’re out and about in the Northern Territory, keep an eye out for these majestic beauties. With their striking colors and large size, they’re hard to miss.

Tailed Emperor (Polyura pyrrhus)

The Tailed Emperor is a butterfly species prevalent in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Tailed Emperor butterfly

It’s certainly one species that stands out from the crowd for many reasons.

  • Habitat: This species loves to inhabit open forests and the edges of rainforests.
  • Appearance: As the name suggests, it has distinctive tail-like extensions on the hind wings. The upper side of its wings exhibits an intricate pattern of black, white and orange colors.
  • Size: The wingspan of the Tailed Emperor usually spans between 65 to 75mm, making it a relatively large butterfly.
  • Diet: Adult butterflies feed on the sap of trees. Yet, the caterpillars enjoy a diet of several types of Acacia, including Golden Wattle.
  • Reproduction: Female Tailed Emperors lay clusters of round, pale eggs on the host plants.
  • Lifespan: The life cycle from egg to adult lasts about a month.
  • Host Plants: They’re particularly fond of Acacia species such as the Golden Wattle for their larvae.

Get ready to spot this grand butterfly on your next hike!

Wanderer (Danaus plexippus)

Wanderer also known as ‘Monarch Butterfly’ with its striking black, orange, and white pattern leaves an unforgettable image.

Monarch Butterfly

So, here’s a glimpse into their unique traits and lifestyle.

  • Habitat: Typically, they inhabit open plains and forests, gardens, and swamps.
  • Appearance: Bold black, orange, and white pattern with white dots on the border of their wings make them easily recognizable.
  • Size: It’s one of Australia’s larger butterfly species, with a wingspan that often reaches 10 centimeters.
  • Diet: They feed mainly on nectar from a variety of flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: Females can lay hundreds of eggs. They place them carefully on the underside of milkweed leaves.
  • Lifespan: An extraordinary longevity, often living up to 9 months.
  • Host Plants: Milkweed plants are their preferred host, serving both as a nursery and a pantry for their caterpillars.

Isn’t the Wanderer species fascinating? Its bright colors and unique patterns surely catch attention as it flutters by.

Common Eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina)

The Common Eggfly, also known as Hypolimnas bolina, hail from the family of Nymphalidae.

Common Eggfly butterfly

Their charm is intriguing. Let’s delve into more details:

  • Habitat: They find comfort in open spaces like gardens, coastal regions, and forest borders.
  • Appearance: Often admired for their striking black bodies patterned with white spots and blue margins.
  • Size: The females reach up to 85mm, while males can be around 70mm. Size isn’t all that matters here.
  • Diet: Their love for nectar from flowers is known. Lantana is a particular favorite, as well as native blossoms.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves. Each butterfly, from egg to end, has a unique story.
  • Lifespan: They live as adults in the wild for about two weeks. A full life cycle takes around four to six weeks.
  • Host Plants: They favor plants like Mallotus and other similar species that provide food for their larvae.

This species is a kind of wonder, isn’t it?

Blue Tiger (Tirumala hamata)

The Blue Tiger butterfly, also known as Tirumala hamata, is a distinctive species you’ll come across in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Blue Tiger Butterfly

Let’s explore some fascinating details about this remarkable butterfly.

  • Habitat: They’re often seen in coastal regions, favoring dense, tropical rainforests.
  • Appearance: Characterized by their striking blue and black patterned wings, making them hard to miss!
  • Size: Adult Blue Tigers typically span between 75 and 95 millimeters, quite large for a butterfly.
  • Diet: Their diet consists mostly of nectar from a variety of flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the leaves of host plants, where the larva will feed and grow.
  • Lifespan: Their lifespan typically ranges from a few weeks to several months.
  • Host Plants: Larvae feed on various members of the Milkweed family.

These intriguing details make the Blue Tiger a standout among the 30 butterfly species native to the Northern Territory.

Whether they’re flashing their vibrant wings or sipping on flower nectar, they sure are a sight to behold.

Australian Rustic (Cupha prosope)

Let’s talk about the Australian Rustic, or Cupha prosope.

Bordered Rustic (Cupha prosope)

This fascinating butterfly species adds color to the Northern Territory of Australia.

  • Habitat: You can commonly spot Australian Rustics in open forests and suburban gardens.
  • Appearance: They have a brown and rustic-orange color combination and have an eye-catching pattern on the hindwing underside.
  • Size: The Australian Rustic is medium-sized and can have a wingspan up to 60mm.
  • Diet: Adult butterflies feed on nectar from a wide variety of native and exotic flowers.
  • Reproduction: This species is most abundant during summer and autumn, making it their peak breeding season.
  • Lifespan: While the exact lifespan in the wild remains unknown, captive Australian Rustics can live for up to 2 months.
  • Host Plants: Some of their favorite host plants include bleedings hearts (Omalanthus populifolius) and native rosella (Hibiscus heterophyllus).

These butterflies are native to Australian and add a unique touch to its biodiversity.

Lesser Wanderer (Danaus petilia)

Lesser Wanderer is a regular feature on the list of butterflies that adorn the Northern Territory in Australia.

Lesser Wanderer butterfly

  • Habitat: Primarily, it likes tropical areas and can often be seen in urban parks and gardens.
  • Appearance: A striking butterfly with patterned dark brown and white wings. It has black veins on the upper surface of its wings.
  • Size: Understated in size, the Lesser Wanderer measures between 7-8 centimeters.
  • Diet: Plants, nectar from flowers and their own host plant serve as the primary diet of a Lesser Wanderer.
  • Reproduction: The female lays her eggs, which are pale, greenish-yellow, onto the younger leaves of the host plants.
  • Lifespan: These butterflies enlighten our environment for approximately 2-4 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Its common host plants are tropical milkweed varieties including Swan Plants and Bloodflower, to name a few.

The Lesser Wanderer, true to its name, might not span the entire Northern Territory but is equipped to cover a significant amount beautifully.

Green Triangle (Graphium agamemnon)

Esteemed as extravagantly charming creatures, let’s discuss the Green Triangle.

Green Triangle (Graphium agamemnon) Butterfly

Commonly known as the Tailed Jay, it tailors its life around steamy rainforests and coastal mangroves, typically in the Northern Territory.

  • Habitat: This species adores tropical rainforests and mangroves.
  • Appearance: As its name reflects, it flaunts a green triangle on its dark back. Additionally, it houses an awe-inspiring pattern: spots and small, green triangles.
  • Size: It possesses a grand wingspan, usually stretching between 8cm to 10cm.
  • Diet: As a caterpillar, it feeds on leaves of host plants. However, adulthood sees a shift towards nectar.
  • Reproduction: Males perform a fascinating courting display. Post mating, the female lays her eggs, usually on the underside of plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: It enjoys a brief adulthood, approximately 3-4 weeks.
  • Host Plants: It prefers Annonaceae family plants for egg-laying, nurturing caterpillars with leaves.

Exuberantly stunning, the Green Triangle captures attention and hearts with its size, colour, and life cycle.

Pale Triangle (Graphium eurypylus)

The Pale Triangle (Graphium eurypylus) is one of Australia’s remarkable butterfly species, typically found in the Northern Territory.

Pale Triangle_99A0777

Let’s delve into this unique species:

  • Habitat: Primarily coastal rainforests, but they are also known to inhabit suburban gardens.
  • Appearance: A stand-out with their pale blue triangles against the black and white base color.
  • Size: An impressive wingspan, ranging between 70 and 80mm.
  • Diet: Depend on floral nectar as adults, while the larvae feed on various vine species.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their spherical eggs on the undersides of host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: Their life cycle is approximately one month, but may vary depending on environmental factors.
  • Host Plants: Favored host plants include members of the Aristolochia genus.

It’s always enjoyable to discover more about the incredible biodiversity of the Northern Territory, and the Pale Triangle butterfly is certainly a delightful contributor!

Common Jezebel (Delias nigrina)

The Common Jezebel, known scientifically as Delias nigrina, is one of the intriguing butterfly species native to the Northern Territory of Australia.

common jezebel butterfly

Can’t wait to know more about it? Let’s dig right in!

  • Habitat: Happily calls the tropical rainforests and open woodlands home.
  • Appearance: Boasts striking black and white markings with a swath of yellow on the hindwing.
  • Size: Average wingspan ranges from 6.5 centimeters to 8 centimeters.
  • Diet: Like most butterflies, they feed on flower nectar but their caterpillars are known for feeding on mistletoe.
  • Reproduction: Females lay pale green eggs either singly or in clusters, often on the host plant.
  • Lifespan: Typically, the adult life may last from a week to a month depending on environmental factors.
  • Host Plants: The primary host plants are typically mistletoe species.

Learning about these beautiful creatures deepens our appreciation for nature’s diversity, doesn’t it?

Caper White (Belenois java)

Your encounter with the ‘Caper White’ butterfly, a frequent visitor in the Northern Territory of Australia, will leave you in absolute awe.

Caper White butterfly

Here are fascinating traits about this butterfly:

  • Habitat: They’re at home in open woodland and suburban areas.
  • Appearance: Their upper side is primarily white. Females have marginal black borders.
  • Size: With a wingspan of about 5 cm, they are of medium size.
  • Diet: Nectar from flowering plants sustains them.
  • Reproduction: Females lay single, spherical, white eggs on leaves of host plants.
  • Lifespan: On average, their lifespan is 2-3 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Cruciferous plants, especially caper shrubs, serve as their host plants.

Common Grass-yellow (Eurema hecabe)

Imagine a butterfly displaying a vivacious shade of yellow contrasting against the grass.

Common Grass-yellow butterfly

Meet the Common Grass-yellow (Eurema hecabe), a distinctively alluring species of butterfly.

  • Habitat: Found mostly in open forests, gardens, and grasslands.
  • Appearance: The upper side of their wings are bright lemon-yellow, while the underside is paler with a few scattered black dots.
  • Size: Its’ wingspan ranges around 4 cm.
  • Diet: This species feeds primarily on nectar from a variety of flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: They breed throughout the year, with females laying eggs on new foliage of host plants.
  • Lifespan: They live up to several weeks, which can extend under favorable conditions.
  • Host Plants: Caterpillars feed on Cassia species, such as Senna surattensis and Senna tora, where the eggs are laid.

This vibrant lemon hued butterfly, the Common Grass-yellow, is a pleasing sight for nature lovers and a valuable contribution to the biodiversity of Australia’s Northern Territory.

Australian Painted Lady (Vanessa kershawi)

If you thought Australia’s geology is the only interesting thing, think again.

Australian Painted Lady Butterfly

Here’s a look at Vanessa kershawi, also known as the Australian Painted Lady:

  • Habitat: Predominantly in open areas, gardens, and woodland edges.
  • Appearance: Resembling a painted canvas with intricate colourful patterns in shades of orange, black, and white.
  • Size: Sporting a wingspan from about 4.5 to 6 cm, petite yet captivating.
  • Diet: Nectar and sap are their favourites. Occasionally, they enjoy rotten fruits.
  • Reproduction: Females lay tiny, ribbed, barrel-shaped eggs on host plants.
  • Lifespan: Short and sweet, it ranges from a couple of weeks to a month.
  • Host Plants: Their larvae love munching on various species of daisies.

Next time you’re in Australia, keep your eyes peeled for this vibrant butterfly. It’s quite a sight!

But there’s more. Stay with me as we delve into more butterfly species.

Scarlet Jezebel (Delias argenthona)

Say hello to the Scarlet Jezebel, one of the vibrant butterfly species you’re sure to come across in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Scarlet Jezebel (Delias Argenthona) at Carinya St park Indooroopilly

This beauty has some unique features that make it stand out:

  • Habitat: Favors coastal areas, but you can find it in forests too.
  • Appearance: Displays a striking colour scheme. Its bright red bands contrast sharply with white areas.
  • Size: On average, it has a wingspan of 65mm.
  • Diet: Prefers to sip nectar from flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: Females lay delicate, white eggs on host plants.
  • Lifespan: Manages to survive for up to 4 to 5 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Prefers Mistletoes, especially the Amyema variety.

Remember, though the Scarlet Jezebel is beautiful to behold, don’t try to catch them.

These butterflies are a significant part of biodiversity, so we need to remember to respect them in their natural habitats.

Meadow Argus (Junonia villida)

Looking for a butterfly that stands out in a crowd? The Meadow Argus, also known as Junonia villida, might be the one.

Meadow Argus butterfly

Its natural beauty and unique behaviors make it one of Australia’s most distinct butterfly species.

  • Habitat: This species thrives in various environments ranging from woodlands, farmlands, to even urban areas.
  • Appearance: Known for its notable brown wings with eye-catching eye spots.
  • Size: Typically measures between 45 to 50 millimeters in wingspan—a sight you can’t miss.
  • Diet: Adult Meadow Argus love sipping nectar from flowers while their caterpillar counterparts feast on leaves.
  • Reproduction: Females lay single eggs on host plants where the lifecycle continues.
  • Lifespan: They are quick maturing, with a lifespan from caterpillar to butterfly of roughly 25 days.
  • Host Plants: Their caterpillars feed on a variety of plant species, including Wedelia and Centella.

Whether you’re hoping to spot one in your garden or planning on a butterfly-watching trip, keeping your eyes peeled for the Meadow Argus brings an extra bit of excitement.

Blue Argus (Junonia orithya)

Let’s turn our attention to the delightful Blue Argus (Junonia orithya).

Blue Pansy Butterfly

Unlike some of the previous butterflies, this species embraces a unique hue that never fails to captivate viewers.

  • Habitat: The Blue Argus is often found in open woodland, coastal scrub, and gardens.
  • Appearance: As its name suggests, this butterfly stands out with its striking blue undersides streaked with darker veins. The upper side is more muted, with subtle spots and patterns over a brown base.
  • Size: This medium-sized butterfly spans 47-56mm.
  • Diet: As adults, they feed on flower nectar. Caterpillars feast on plants.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the host plants, which are the food source for the emergent caterpillars.
  • Lifespan: The typical lifespan ranges from just a week up to a month.
  • Host Plants: Their larvae are partial to rock figs (Ficus rubiginosa) and rusty figs (Ficus fulva).

So, next time you’re exploring the Northern Territory, don’t miss the Blue Argus in its natural habitat!

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

The Cabbage White butterfly certainly deserves your attention. Considered one of the most adaptable butterflies globally, it happily makes its home in Northern Territory of Australia.

Cabbage White butterfly

Let’s delve into some fascinating aspects of its life.

  • Habitat: Found in a variety of settings, from urban areas to vegetable patches and woodlands.
  • Appearance: Boasts of clean wings with a sulfur-yellow shine, and speckled with black markings.
  • Size: Generally, between 32 to 47mm, making it small enough to be called cute.
  • Diet: As caterpillars, they feed on leaves, and as adults, they savor nectar from flowers.
  • Reproduction: Each female can lay up to 200 eggs, so they multiply rapidly.
  • Lifespan: A short but busy life of 3-4 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Prefers plants from the Brassicaceae family, including common vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

Despite their somewhat negative reputation among gardeners, you can’t deny their resilience and adaptability. After all, this butterfly has managed to flutter its way across the world!

Cairns Birdwing (Ornithoptera euphorion)

Let’s discover the fascinating world of the Cairns Birdwing.

Cairns Birdwing butterfly

This butterfly belongs to the distinctive Birdwing genus, renowned for its large size and striking coloration.

  • Habitat: Cairns Birdwings thrive in the rainforests of Northern Territory, particularly near creeks or rivers.
  • Appearance: Males flaunt green and gold wings whereas females are usually black and white with spots of yellow and blue.
  • Size: This species is quite large. The males can reach 125 mm whereas the females can reach up to 150 mm. It’s one of Australia’s largest butterflies.
  • Diet: Adult Cairns Birdwings live off flower nectar, but their larvae prefer to feed on native Australian pipevines.
  • Reproduction: Like other butterflies, females lay their eggs on host plants, the preferred being the Aristolochia vine.
  • Lifespan: Adult Cairn Birdwings typically live 4-5 weeks, laying the foundation for the next generation within this period.
  • Host Plants: Aristolochia vines are a crucial part of their lifecycle, serving as both a food source and a hatching spot for their eggs.

Remember, these butterflies are part of Australia’s protected species, so if you’re lucky to see one, enjoy the view but let them fly free.

Cairns Birdwings, indeed, narrate a tale of survival and beauty. Three cheers for these natural wonders; fluttering hope to every life in Australia’s Northern Territory.

And remember, our actions can directly affect their survival, so let’s work to protect their natural habitats and ensure their continued existence.

Orange Albatross (Appias nero)

The Orange Albatross, also known as ‘Appias nero,’ is a breathtaking butterfly species that adds a splash of color to the Northern Territory of Australia.

Orange Albatross butterfly

This species is abundant particularly because of its adaptable nature and ability to thrive in different environments.

  • Habitat: Orange Albatross mainly resides in open forests and suburban gardens.
  • Appearance: It has white wings with black borders and a series of orange markings.
  • Size: This butterfly is medium-sized with a wingspan between 60-70mm.
  • Diet: Similar to most butterfly species, the primary diet consists of nectar from flowers.
  • Reproduction: Each butterfly lays eggs on the underside of host plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: An Orange Albatross typically lives for up to 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Host Plants: The primary host plants for the Orange Albatross are the species of the Capparis family.

Engaging with this butterfly species could lead to an unforgettable experience as they flutter about showcasing their elegant beauty.

Tawny Coster (Acraea terpsicore)

Let’s delve into the lively world of the Tawny Coster.

Tawny Coster butterfly

This species of butterfly regularly graces the Northern Territory with its colorful presence.

  • Habitat: Naturally, it thrives in the lush, tropical and sub-tropical environments.
  • Appearance: It boasts a stunning tawny orange color with black patterns on the wings, giving it its distinctive name.
  • Size: Adult Tawny Costers grow to a width of about 53-64 mm.
  • Diet: These butterflies feed mostly on nectar from a range of flowering plants.
  • Reproduction: Possibly, the most fascinating thing about them is how they lay their eggs in clusters on leaves.
  • Lifespan: Tawny Coster butterflies usually have a lifecycle of 40 – 50 days.
  • Host Plants: Interestingly, their larvae feed on leaves, especially those from the Passifloraceae family or more commonly known, Passion vines.

This Tawny delight adds a vivid splash in Northern Territory’s diverse butterfly portfolio.

Glasswing Butterfly (Acraea andromacha)

Have you ever seen a butterfly with transparent wings?

Glasswing Butterfly

Meet the Glasswing Butterfly, scientifically known as Acraea andromacha.

  • Habitat: These delicate creatures generally inhabit the open forests and suburban gardens of the Northern Territory of Australia.
  • Appearance: What sets them apart is their unique, translucent wings that almost look like they made of glass.
  • Size: Typically, the Glasswing’s wingspan ranges from 6 to 7.5 cm.
  • Diet: Adult Glasswings feed on nectar from a wide variety of plants.
  • Reproduction: The female lays her eggs on the underside of the host plant leaves. Each egg hatches a green caterpillar with a black mouth, feeding on the plant.
  • Lifespan: On average, the adult Glasswing lives for around one month.
  • Host Plants: Host plants include different species of the Crotalaria genus.

This enchanting butterfly is an absolute joy to spot. Next time you’re up north, keep your eyes peeled for this one.

It adds an extra sparkle to Australia’s rich butterfly population. Enjoy the beauty and diversity of our world’s little fliers.

Dingy Swallowtail (Papilio anactus)

The Dingy Swallowtail, also known as the Dainty Swallowtail, is undoubtedly one of the fluttering gems cruising the Northern Territory of Australia.

Papilio anactus (Dingy Swallowtail)

Here’s some enlightening info on this butterfly specie:

  • Habitat: It likes the urban areas, forests and woodlands.
  • Appearance: Flaunts a black and white checkered pattern with a unique, blue iridescent sheen.
  • Size: Boasts a wingspan of roughly 7 to 9.5 cm.
  • Diet: Adult butterflies quench their thirst by sipping nectar from a variety of flowers.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their spherical eggs individually on younger leaves of host plants.
  • Lifespan: From an egg to an adult, they lead a short yet meaningful lifespan of about 5 to 7 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Preferred food include citrus varieties such as oranges, limes, lemons, and pomelos.

A closer look into the life of a Dingy Swallowtail not only receives a nod of admiration.

Red-banded Jezebel (Delias mysis)

Let’s dive into the fascinating world of the Red-banded Jezebel.

IMG_9299紅帶豔粉蝶訪銀樺樹 Red-banded Jezebel(Delias mysis) visiting Grevillea sylvia

A member of the Delias group, it’s an interesting presence in the Northern Territory of Australia.

  • Habitat: Hence, you’ll find them primarily in open forests and suburban gardens.
  • Appearance: The Red-banded Jezebel aptly earned its name. Its wings boast a vibrant color pattern of red, black, white, and yellow.
  • Size: With a wingspan ranging from 60-80mm, they are a captivating sight to behold.
  • Diet: Adults are nectar feeders. But the caterpillars do have a taste for mistletoe.
  • Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on mistletoe. They prefer the species found on eucalyptus trees.
  • Lifespan: The life cycle includes egg, larval, pupal, and adult stages. Specific lifespan can vary based on numerous factors.
  • Host Plants: The mistletoe serves as the larval food plant. On the other hand, adults prefer feed from flowering trees.

As you can see, the Red-banded Jezebel is just as unique as it sounds!

Chocolate Argus (Junonia hedonia)

The Chocolate Argus, known scientifically as Junonia hedonia, is yet another dazzling butterfly species calling the Northern Territory home.

Junonia hedonia (Brown Soldier, Spotted Chocolate Soldier, Brown Pansy, Chocolate Argus, or Chocolate Soldier) (ID-A017)

Its name intriguing, this isn’t the only characteristic that makes it stand out.

  • Habitat: This species is commonly found in open woodland areas, bushland, and often seen in gardens.
  • Appearance: The adults have a slate-grey underwing with distinctive orange and blue eyespots. Meanwhile, their upperwing is rich brown with several pale spots.
  • Size: The Chocolate Argus measures approximately 4cm in wing span, making it a medium-sized butterfly.
  • Diet: As adults, they feed primarily on nectar from native shrubs and flowers.
  • Reproduction: The female lays her eggs on the leaves of the host plants.
  • Lifespan: They generally have a short lifespan of a few weeks.
  • Host Plants: The larvae of the Chocolate Argus feed on plants in the Violet family such as the Viola and Hoya species.

Don’t miss the opportunity to spot one if you’re in the Northern Territory!

Clearwing Swallowtail (Cressida cressida)

The Clearwing Swallowtail is a standout species, found throughout Northern Australia.

Clearwing Swallowtail (cressida cressida)

Don’t let its name fool you, it has a lower wing that is anything but clear.

  • Habitat: This species is commonly found in open forests, urban areas, and even mangrove swamps.
  • Appearance: The Clearwing Swallowtail displays dominant white coloration with a subtle pattern of black spots and stripes. Meanwhile, their transparent wings set them apart from many other species.
  • Size: Clearwing Swallowtails have a wingspan that typically measures between 80 to 110mm, placing them amongst some of the larger butterfly species.
  • Diet: The diet of adult Clearwing Swallowtails consists primarily of nectar from a range of wildflowers.
  • Reproduction: Female butterflies lay green eggs on the underside of food plant leaves.
  • Lifespan: Average lifespan for adult butterflies of this species is around 7 to 10 days.
  • Host Plants: The caterpillars feed on the leaves of Alstonia actinophylla and Alstonia scholaris, commonly known as milkwoods.

Each of the above factors contributes to making the Clearwing Swallowtail a truly intriguing creature.

Wood White (Leptidea sinapis)

Ready to uncover a feathered light gem hidden within the territory’s lush greeneries? We are now getting acquainted with the Wood White butterfly, or scientifically known as Leptidea sinapis.

Wood White butterfly

This butterfly species is well respected across the Northern Territory.

  • Habitat: Seeming to love nature’s quiet, you would typically find them in wooded habitats, meadows, and open forests.
  • Appearance: Flaunting white to light brown wings adorned with darker veiny patterns grants them camouflage amidst blooms and light barks.
  • Size: This small butterfly averages around 40-44mm wingspan, making it a charming tiny spectacle.
  • Diet: The Wood White sips nectar from flowers, favoring purple field scabious and yellow dandelions.
  • Reproduction: The female lays pale green eggs on host plants which hatch after two weeks.
  • Lifespan: Though living transient lives, they buzz around for up to three weeks.
  • Host Plants: The Wood White’s caterpillars are fond of the Fabaceae plants, thriving on leguminous species like clover, vetch, and trefoil.

Isn’t it fascinating to delve into the Wood White’s world? What’s next? Let’s uncover the ins and outs of the Double-banded Line-blue (Nacaduba biocellata).

Double-banded Line-blue (Nacaduba biocellata)

This small butterfly species occupies a special place in Northern Territory’s diverse butterfly population.

Two-spot line-blue (Nacaduba biocellata)

Robust, yet delicate, the Double-banded Line-blue offers a fascinating study into the adaptability of the species that call the Australian tropical climate their home.

  • Habitat: Inhabits open eucalypt forests, suburban gardens, and woodlands.
  • Appearance: This species is characterized by its pale lilac-blue upperside with double bands of black on forewings and a singular band on its hindwings.
  • Size: Adult butterflies are small, measuring approximately 20-25 mm wingspan.
  • Diet: Adults feed primarily on nectar from flowers, while larvae munch on young leaves.
  • Reproduction: Females lay pale greenish-white, flattened spherical eggs singly on host plants.
  • Lifespan: The average lifespan is around 2-3 weeks.
  • Host Plants: Larvae feed on variety of Cassia species, making it an essential plant in their lifecycle.


Exploring the fantastic array of butterfly species in Northern Territory of Australia has been unforgettable.

How many of these remarkable species have you identified?

Share your experiences in the comment section. We’d love to hear from you.

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.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *