30 Butterfly Species in Tasmania
Enjoy the fabulous world of Tasmania’s butterflies, a vibrant collection of 30 distinct species.
Through this article, you’ll discover the diverse traits, unique behaviors, and stunning visuals of these creatures.
Let’s dive into the mesmerizing journey of exploring Tasmania’s butterfly species together.
Common Brown (Heteronympha merope)
You would find the Common Brown butterfly, a species with a wide distribution across Tasmania. Its scientific name is ‘Heteronympha merope’.
- Habitat: Prefers open woodlands, suburban gardens, and meadows.
- Appearance: Males have a brown upper wing surface while females have patterns of grey, white, and orange on the upperside.
- Size: They have a wingspan between 1.5 to 2 inches (40-50mm), making them quite a medium-sized butterfly.
- Diet: Adults mainly feed on nectar from flowers like the daisy and mist flower.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs singly on host plant leaves. The larvae feed on these leaves.
- Lifespan: Their lifespan ranges from two weeks to a month, mostly falling in the summer and autumn seasons.
- Host Plants: The caterpillars mainly feed on various grass species including introduced couch grass and native poa grass.
Despite its name, the Common Brown shows remarkable color and pattern variations, making it a delight to observe.
Meadow Argus (Junonia villida)
The Meadow Argus is a commonplace butterfly you might encounter in Tasmania.
- Habitat: Thrives in a variety of environs including gardens, forests, and grasslands.
- Appearance: Recognizable by its dark brown wings decorated with eye patterns, distinguishable by a single large white-centered “eye” on each wing.
- Size: An average wing span of 1.2-1.6 inches (30-40 millimeters), making them quite noticeable.
- Diet: Adult ones primarily feed on flower nectar, while caterpillars enjoy eating leaves.
- Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the undersides of plant leaves. The larva then hatch and commence the cycle anew.
- Lifespan: Their life expectancy is usually a few weeks in the wild due to predation and environmental factors.
- Host Plants: Deciduous holly at the caterpillar stage is a host plant. Leafy plants like Nettle-leaved Goosefoot also serve as food sources in the larval stage.
Tasmanian Ringlet (Hypocysta metirius)
The Tasmanian Ringlet is a unique butterfly species, native to Tasmania, Australia. This butterfly stands out for several reasons.
Let me guide you through its features:
- Habitat: You can find them predominantly in wet forest environments and the tall eucalypt forests.
- Appearance: They have dark brown wings with a distinct yellow ring on each hind wing.
- Size: With a wingspan of approximately 1.4 inches (35 mm), it is not overly large.
- Diet: As larvae, they munch on certain grass species. In adulthood, they’re fond of nectar from local flowering plants.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs in grass tussocks where larvae will have immediate access to food.
- Lifespan: They typically live for around two weeks as an adult butterfly.
- Host Plants: Adult females often select Poa tussock grass as the optimal location for their eggs. The larvae feed on this plant until they reach the pupal stage.
Greenish Grass-Dart (Ocybadistes walkeri)
The Greenish Grass-Dart is a tiny beauty you have the chance to encounter in Tasmania.
- Habitat: Grasslands, coastlines, and backyard gardens are the preferred habitats of this butterfly.
- Appearance: As its name implies, this butterfly showcases a shimmering greenish hue on its wings with black spots on their back.
- Size: This butterfly is quite small, the wingspan usually measures between 0.59-0.78 inches (1.5-2 centimeters).
- Diet: The caterpillars feed primarily on various grass species, while adult butterflies prefer to sip on nectar from flowers.
- Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the leaves of host plants. Once hatched, the larvae remain on the same plant for their entire larval stage.
- Lifespan: The typical lifespan is about 1-2 months, given their exposure to predators and weather conditions.
- Host Plants: This species depends on different grass species, especially Cynodon dactylon and Paspalum distichum. These plants serve as a food source for the larvae and a nesting spot for the females.
Lesser Wanderer (Danaus chrysippus)
You’ll spot the Lesser Wanderer in various habitats, such as suburban gardens and bushland, adorned with its distinctive cascading brown and orange pattern with white spots on its wings.
- Habitat: Suburban gardens and bushland
- Appearance: Brown and orange wings with white spots
- Size: This butterfly boasts a medium size with a wingspan around 2.7-3.1 inches (7-8 cm)
- Diet: The nectar of various flowers serves as this creature’s main food source
- Reproduction: The female lays eggs on the underside of milkweed leaves, which provides nourishment to the emerging larvae
- Lifespan: An average lifespan is approximately 2-4 weeks
- Host Plants: Milkweed species, including Asclepias fruticosa and Gomphocarpus species, serve as host plants for the caterpillars of the Lesser Wanderer
Get engrossed in the natural beauty of the Lesser Wanderer, which beautifully embodies the rich biodiversity of Tasmania.
Australian Painted Lady (Vanessa kershawi)
Australian Painted Lady, also known by its scientific name Vanessa kershawi, is one of the most glorious butterfly species gracing Tasmania. Its enchanting beauty is something to behold.
- Habitat: Prefers coastal dunes, saltbush plains, and suburban gardens.
- Appearance: Showcases colours ranging from brown and orange to black, with small white spots on the black tips of the forewings.
- Size: A medium-sized butterfly, typically has a wingspan between 1.8 and 2.2 inches (45-55 mm).
- Diet: Primarily a nectar feeder, it frequents flowers such as everlasting daisies.
- Reproduction: It undergoes complete metamorphosis, transitioning from egg to caterpillar, to chrysalis, and finally, to butterfly.
- Lifespan: Generally, an adult Painted Lady lives for around two to three weeks.
- Host Plants: Caterpillars typically feast on plants like cheeseweed, thistles, and other species of the Asteraceae family.
This butterfly’s flight is fast and erratic, making it a treat for the eyes when viewed in its natural habitat.
Australian Admiral (Vanessa itea)
The Australian Admiral is an eye-catching butterfly endemic to Tasmania.
- Habitat: Found in various ecosystems, they thrive in eucalypt forests and urban parklands.
- Appearance: They sport a bold color palette of black, white, and rustic orange. Distinct black veins create a striking pattern on their wings.
- Size: This lovely species measures 2.3 – 2.7 inches (6 – 7 cm) in wingspan, substantial in the butterfly world.
- Diet: Adult butterflies favour nectar, while caterpillars feed on native nettles, such as small-leafed stinging nettle.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs on nettle leaves. After hatching, caterpillars wrap themselves in a leaf cocoon for pupation.
- Lifespan: Adults live for around one month, maximizing the summer’s bountiful nectar.
- Host Plants: Their host plant, the small-leaf stinging nettle, is important for the butterfly’s egg laying and caterpillar feeding.
This is a stunning butterfly species that brings colour and beauty to Tasmania’s diversified ecosystems.
Common Copper (Lycaena salustius)
Meet the Common Copper, a splendid butterfly species common to Tasmania.
- Habitat: Prefer to live in open woodlands, scrublands, and coastal dunes.
- Appearance: Adults exhibit a stunning coppery-orange upper wing, fringed black with white.
- Size: Their wingspan can be up to 1.45 inches (37 mm), a relatively small creature.
- Diet: They feed on nectar from multiple flower species, supplementing their diet.
- Reproduction: Female Common Coppers lay tiny disc-shaped eggs on the host plants.
- Lifespan: Their life expectancy in the wild is around 1-2 months.
- Host Plants: The caterpillars primarily feed on Sheep’s sorrel and/or Common Sorrel.
The Common Copper surely exemplifies the adjective in its name, exhibiting gorgeous display of copper hues in sunlight.
But, here’s a fun fact for you: females may sport three variants!
The diversity of forms that this species possesses is truly intriguing. Enjoy spotting them on your next visit to Tasmania!
Tasmanian Azure (Ogyris halmaturia)
The Tasmanian Azure, known scientifically as the Ogyris halmaturia, is a rare sight in Tasmania. This butterfly species is specially adapted to the unique conditions of its habitat.
Let’s delve into its fascinating characteristics:
- Habitat: The Azure can be found mostly in the natural bushland and forest areas across Tasmania.
- Appearance: This butterfly showcases a royal-blue upper side and a cream-coloured underside accompanied by small black markings.
- Size: Typically the Azure spans about 45mm (1.8 inches) across its wings.
- Diet: As adults, they feed on the nectar of native understorey plants while caterpillars prefer the leaves of parasitic mistletoe.
- Reproduction: Egg-laying typically occurs in the spring with the mature chrysalis emerging as an adult butterfly in about two weeks.
- Lifespan: The typical lifespan for this species is roughly 20 to 30 days.
- Host Plants: The larvae favour mistletoe species, particularly the Amyema plant, for sustenance and protection.
Blue Jewel (Hypochrysops delicia)
The Blue Jewel is among the most visually stunning butterfly species you’re likely to encounter in Tasmania.
This nectar-feeding insect flaunts a vivid blue and black hue that stands as an emblem of its name,True to the essence of a jewel.
- Habitat: The Blue Jewels inhabit eucalyptus forests, staying close to their preferred host trees.
- Appearance: Its upper wings wear a striking blue sheen that contrasts with black margins, while the underside combines a mix of grey, white and brown patterns.
- Size: This butterfly has a wingspan that ranges from 1.5 to 1.8 inches (3.8 to 4.5 cm).
- Diet: Adults feed predominantly on nectar from flowering trees or shrubs.
- Reproduction: The female Jewel lays her eggs on the underside of leaves of host plants.
- Lifespan: Individuals generally live for 2 – 3 weeks.
- Host Plants: Blue Jewels thrive on mistletoe; a parasitic plant that grows on eucalyptus trees.
Greenish Blue (Pseudophilotes vicrama)
The Greenish Blue is an enchanting butterfly species that you will find in Tasmania. Now, let’s explore these colorful creatures further.
- Habitat: These delicate butterflies favor temperate grasslands and open woodland areas.
- Appearance: The Greenish Blue is adorned with a vibrant mix of blue and green hues on its upper wings, while its under-wing color is pale.
- Size: Measuring between 1 to 1.37 inches (2.5 to 3.5 cm), these are petite butterflies indeed.
- Diet: Primarily nectar feeds them, and they occasionally feed on rotting fruit or poop.
- Reproduction: Female Greenish Blues lay eggs singly on the host plant leaves. From these eggs, caterpillars emerge, completing the metamorphosis into beautiful butterflies.
- Lifespan: The average lifespan lasts from a few weeks up to a couple of months.
- Host Plants: They have a liking for legume plants, particularly those from the genus Astragalus.
Its presence adds color to Tasmania’s rich biodiversity.
Flame Skipper (Zela zelus)
The Flame Skipper (Zela zelus) is a remarkable butterfly species found in Tasmania. Named for its fiery hue, it lends a blaze of color to the landscapes it inhabits.
- Habitat: Flame Skippers are mostly sighted in open woodlands and shrubby grasslands.
- Appearance: Their wings have a distinct fiery-red color, with intricate dark patterns.
- Size: They are small and delicate, typically spanning 1.2 inches, or around 3 centimeters.
- Diet: As adults, they primarily feed on floral nectar.
- Reproduction: Males perch in sunny spots to wait for females, leading to mating and egg-laying – usually on grass blades.
- Lifespan: Flame Skippers, like most butterfly species, have a lifespan of a few weeks.
- Host Plants: The larvae feed on different grass types, exhibiting a preference for native grasses.
Through understanding these aspects, you’ll surely recognize the Flame Skipper on your next Tasmanian adventure.
Glasswing (Acraea andromacha)
The Glasswing, scientifically known as Acraea andromacha, is a remarkable butterfly species.
- Habitat: This fascinating insect is a frequent visitor to gardens and parks.
- Appearance: It’s identifiable by its transparent wings, hence the name, which makes it a unique sight in the wild.
- Size: It has a wingspan reaching around 2.4-2.8 inches (6-7 cm), making it a medium-sized butterfly.
- Diet: Adult Glasswings feed primarily on the nectar from flowers.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the tops of host plants. From these eggs, caterpillars emerge which eventually create chrysalis for their transformation.
- Lifespan: Glasswings are ephemeral, living only up to 3 weeks.
- Host Plants: Their larvae feed on the poisonous plant family of Solanaceae, which gives the adults their toxic defense against predation.
Beautiful and transient, the Glasswing butterfly is indeed a sight to behold in Tasmania.
Tasmanian Hairstreak (Jalmenus eubulus)
The Tasmanian Hairstreak is a unique butterfly species endemic to the island of Tasmania, often observed in open forests and heathland regions.
- Habitat: Open, dry forests and heathlands.
- Appearance: They exhibit a unique blend of rust, gray, and indigo hues on their wings with a distinctive tail on the hindwings.
- Size: This species has a wing span of roughly 1.5 inches (4cm).
- Diet: The caterpillars thrive on the nectar of various species of Acacia plants, while the adults primarily feed on the nectar of flowers and overripe fruit.
- Reproduction: After the rainy seasons, females lay their eggs in clusters on Acacia plants.
- Lifespan: They boast a lifespan of approximately 7 months.
- Host Plants: The host plants are primarily various species of Acacia, upon which the caterpillars depend for sustenance.
Its stunning and vivid coloration, paired with a distinctive tail, renders the Tasmanian Hairstreak a must-see for any butterfly aficionado visiting Tasmania.
Fiery Copper (Paralucia pyrodiscus)
The Fiery Copper is an exceptional butterfly species you can spot in Tasmania.
- Habitat: Fiery Copper butterflies are endemic to southeastern Australia. They prefer woodlands and bushy environments.
- Appearance: This butterfly sports a captivating copper hue. The amber-coloured top wings display black markings, while the undersides are silver.
- Size: With a wingspan of 1.2-1.4 inches (30-35 mm), Fiery Copper butterflies are generally small in size.
- Diet: Adult butterflies mainly feast on nectar from various flowers. The larvae munch on the leaves of Bursaria spinosa, the sweet scented bush.
- Reproduction: Females lay its eggs on food plants for the caterpillars. Caterpillars then hatch and develop into butterflies, completing the life cycle.
- Lifespan: The life expectancy of Fiery Copper butterflies is not well established but, like most species, it’s likely they live for several weeks to a few months.
- Host Plants: Bursaria spinosa serves as the larval food plant for this species.
Eltham Copper (Paralucia pyrodiscus lucida)
You’ll adore the Eltham Copper butterfly, belonging to the Lycaenidae family. This species is incredibly unique.
- Habitat: Naturally, you’ll find this gem in ephemeral herb-rich woodlands.
- Appearance: As it gets its name, the Eltham Copper sports a beautiful coppery brown on the upper side of the wings, contrasting with the delicate white spots on the underside.
- Size: This petite butterfly measures 1.18″ (30 mm) in wingspan.
- Diet: Nectar from flowering plants quenches their thirst.
- Reproduction: For egg-laying, Imperial Blue Wattle is their chosen spot.
- Lifespan: Short but sweet, these butterflies live for two weeks.
- Host Plants: The Imperial Blue Wattle (Acacia implexa) is their primary host plant, offering a spot for eggs and a source of food for larvae.
This delightful Tasmania butterfly is an excellent part of the biodiversity of the region.
Heath Ochre (Trapezites phigalia)
The Heath Ochre is an exquisite butterfly species primarily spotted in the Tasmania region, specifically in heathy habitats.
- Habitat: This butterfly thrives in heathlands and shrubby grasslands.
- Appearance: It flaunts an earthy brown color with beautiful streaks of orange to yellow, mimicking the hues of a setting sun.
- Size: Measuring about 3-4 cm (1-1.5 inches) in wingspan, it finds the perfect balance between being noticeable and discreet.
- Diet: The Heath Ochre sips on flower nectar, extracting the floral sweetness.
- Reproduction: Females lay tiny spherical eggs which after several weeks, hatch to reveal tiny caterpillars.
- Lifespan: The lifespan of these butterflies veers around weeks, closely bound with the local ecological conditions.
- Host Plants: Caterpillars are usually found on grass plants of the genera Lomandra and Xanthorrhoea, their primary source of nourishment.
The brief life of the Heath Ochre butterfly showcases the marvellous intricacy of nature, its ecological symbiosis and the significance of conservation efforts.
Bright-eyed Brown (Heteronympha cordace)
Encounter the Bright-eyed Brown, scientifically known as ‘Heteronympha cordace’. Now, let’s dive into the specifics of this charming creature.
- Habitat: This butterfly favours heathlands and woodlands, mainly present in eastern Tasmania and Victoria.
- Appearance: The Bright-eyed Brown is aptly named for its brown wings. The male has a distinctive eyespot on each wing. Females are larger, with distinctive white patches.
- Size: With a wingspan range between 1.6-2.4 inches (4-6 cm), it’s an amazing sight.
- Diet: The adults primarily feed on nectar from flowers. Their larvae enjoy various grass species.
- Reproduction: These butterflies breed during the summer and their eggs are laid on the host plants.
- Lifespan: The life expectancy of the Bright-eyed Brown is around one month.
- Host Plants: The caterpillars feed on various types of native grasses, especially Poa species.
In short, the Bright-eyed Brown is a marvel of the butterfly world, sporting engaging characteristics and a specific lifestyle that’s fascinating to observe.
Alpine Silver Xenica (Oreixenica orichora)
The ‘Alpine Silver Xenica’ or ‘Oreixenica orichora’ is a unique butterfly species.
- Habitat: Native to the alpine and subalpine regions of Tasmania and Victoria. In high altitudes, from 1100 to 1750 meters.
- Appearance: Silver gray wings with small white and black spots. A black border distinguishes its wings.
- Size: Average wingspan of 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8 to 5.1 cm).
- Diet: Mainly nectar from blooming flowers, like Eucalyptus species.
- Reproduction: During summer, females lay eggs on Poa species plants.
- Lifespan: In its overall lifecycle, it lives for about a year.
- Host Plants: Grasses such as Poa species constitute the larva diet.
In conclusion, the Alpine Silver Xenica is a breathtaking specimen. Its survival in high altitudes and distinctive silver-gray hue is a true testament to nature’s adaptability and beauty.
Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi)
This butterfly is named after its striking pattern. The Black-veined White is certainly a distinctive species. Notably, its range extends far beyond Tasmania.
- Habitat: It dwells primarily in deciduous woodland or forest margins. Its larval stages prefer lush vegetation.
- Appearance: This beauty flaunts white to cream wings featuring a network of black veins. The underside of its wings is paler.
- Size: Boasts a wingspan of approximately 2.2-2.6 inches or 56-66 millimeters.
- Diet: Adults relish nectar from a variety of flowers.
- Reproduction: Starts from eggs laid during the summer season on its host plants.
- Lifespan: Its life cycle, from egg to adult, completes in about a year.
- Host Plants: Typically, caterpillars feed on Prunus, Crataegus, and other shrubs.
Importantly, if you ever happen upon this gem in Tasmania, consider it a rare find. The presence of the Black-veined White signals a healthy ecosystem.
Undoubtedly, this creature adds charm to Tasmania’s biodiversity.
Forest Pearl White (Neophasia terlooii)
Meet one of Tasmania’s most enchanting butterflies, the Forest Pearl White or Neophasia terlooii. Its elegant and distinctive look adds to the biodiversity of the island state.
But let’s explore it in more detail:
- Habitat: The Forest Pearl White inhabits Tasmania’s temperate rainforests and eucalyptus woodland habitats.
- Appearance: This species displays a unique blend of white and yellow with black detailing along the wing’s edge.
- Size: Adults reach a size of around 1.8 inches (45 mm) in wingspan.
- Diet: Like most butterflies, its diet consists largely of flower nectar.
- Reproduction: They lay their eggs on the leaves of host plants, which the larvae then feed on.
- Lifespan: With a lifespan of about 2 weeks in the adult stage, their existence may be fleeting, but their presence is remembered.
- Host Plants: The larvae feed predominantly on the leaves of the Mistletoe species, their preferred choice.
So, not only is the Forest Pearl White butterfly beautiful, it also plays a vital role in Tasmania’s ecosystem.
Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
Certainly known as the most widely recognized butterfly, the Monarch Butterfly has a prominent status in Tasmania.
- Habitat: It adapts well in a variety of environments including meadows, fields, cities, forests, and, of course, gardens.
- Appearance: The adult monarch sports bright orange wings with black, vein-like lines and white-dotted black borders.
- Size: This species stands out with a wingspan that ranges from 3.5 to 4 inches (8.9 to 10.2 cm).
- Diet: As adults, they mainly feed on the nectar of flowers, replenishing their energy reserves for their extensive migrations.
- Reproduction: Monarchs have a unique reproduction system marked by annual mass migrations, during which they mate and lay eggs on milkweed plants.
- Lifespan: Their lifespan can vary, but on average, they live for about 6-8 weeks after reaching the adult phase.
- Host Plants: Milkweed, upon which they rely not only for laying eggs but also for feeding their larvae, plays a symbolic role for this species. Their survival is intricately tied to this plant.
Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)
The Cabbage White butterfly is undeniably a common sight in Tasmania.
- Habitat: These butterflies show preference for open spaces, and can be seen in gardens, farmlands, and roadsides.
- Appearance: Characterized by white forewings with black tips, sporting a dark spot in the center.
- Size: The average wingspread is within 1.5 to 2.0 inches, equating to 38-50mm.
- Diet: Adults mostly feed on nectar from flowers but the larvae, known as caterpillars, feast on plants.
- Reproduction: The females lay single, spindle shaped eggs on the underside of their host plants’ leaves.
- Lifespan: After pupating for 1 to 2 weeks, adult Cabbage Whites live for 2 to 3 weeks.
- Host plants: True to their names, Cabbage Whites are adept at infesting Brassicas such as cabbages, but also target other cruciferous vegetables.
White-banded Grass-dart (Taractrocera papyria)
The White-banded Grass-dart (Taractrocera papyria) is one of the unique butterfly species you can spot in Tasmania.
Here’s some key information about this marvellous creature:
- Habitat: This butterfly thrives particularly in grassy spaces and open woodland areas.
- Appearance: Boasting a white band on its wings, this species has a distinct identity. The primary color though is a beautiful blend of black and brown.
- Size: Typically, the creature’s wingspan ranges from about 1 – 1.4 inches or 2.5 – 3.5 cm.
- Diet: The species mostly feed on nectar from various flowers, particularly those that are native to Tasmania.
- Reproduction: Like all butterflies, this form goes through a complete metamorphosis – egg, caterpillar, pupa and finally, an adult.
- Lifespan: Their life expectancy can stretch from a few weeks to several months.
- Host Plants: These butterflies lay their eggs on grass species that include Microlaena stipoides. They’re also seen on other grass species and sometimes on garden plants.
Australian Swallowtail (Papilio anactus)
Time to dive deeper into our discussion on butterflies, to understand a species, specifically native to Australia – the Australian Swallowtail or Papilio anactus.
Be prepared to be mesmerized by this creature’s elegance and sheer beauty.
- Habitat: Generally found in open woodlands, urban areas, and forests, this butterfly is adaptable to various environments.
- Appearance: The Australian Swallowtail boasts a black body with yellow bands and spots, truly an eye-catching spectacle.
- Size: Adults span 3.1-3.5 inches (about 7.8-9 cm) in their butterfly stage, making them quite noticeable.
- Diet: The caterpillars are enthusiastic eaters of citrus leaves, while adult butterflies are frequent flower visitors, sipping nectar.
- Reproduction: Like other butterfly species, they lay eggs on leaves which hatch into caterpillars.
- Lifespan: The adult butterflies live for 2-4 weeks, a typical lifespan for such creatures.
- Host Plants: Caterpillars find citrus plants particularly enticing, though they’re also known to fancy Northern Wild Rice. Now that you know a little more about the Australian Swallowtail, keep an eye out for them.
White Nymph Butterfly (Idea leuconoe)
These gentle creatures are inhabitants of the tropical forests of Tanzania. Easily recognized by their unique look, they have an ethereal appeal that sets them apart from other species.
- Habitat: They feel most at home in the dense, lowland rainforests.
- Appearance: With an almost transparent, white, paper-like wing texture, they truly live up to their name – ‘White Nymph’.
- Size: On average, they spread a sizeable 3.1-3.5 inch (8-9 cm) wingspan.
- Diet: As caterpillars, they chew on the leaves of their host plants. After metamorphosis, they switch to nectar from flowers.
- Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves which hatch into caterpillars and then undergo metamorphosis into butterflies.
- Lifespan: A White Nymph lives to be approximately 3 months old in the wild.
- Host Plants: They are usually found around the tropical plant, Parsonsia laevigata. They also appreciate the Tiger’s Claw plant (Clerodendrum) where females lay their eggs.
Their beauty and interesting lifecycle make them a truly distinctive butterfly species in Tanzania.
Macleay’s Swallowtail (Graphium macleayanus)
Macleay’s Swallowtail, also known as Graphium macleayanus, is one of the impressive butterfly species you’ll find in Tanzania.
Let’s delve into the specifics of this remarkable species:
- Habitat: Primarily found in damp forests, woodland areas and suburban gardens.
- Appearance: Predominantly black, with striking zebra-like stripes of pale green or yellow, giving it a picturesque look.
- Size: Adult wingspans vary, ranging between 2.7 – 3.5 inches (approximately 70-90mm).
- Diet: Primarily nectar from flowers.
- Reproduction: Females lay spherical, pale greenish eggs on the leaves of preferred host plants.
- Lifespan: Typically between 7 – 14 days in their adult form.
- Host Plants: Commonly use plants from the Rutaceae family for their larvae.
Next time you trek through the luscious Tanzanian forests, be sure to keep an eye out for this butterfly with its large size and distinctively patterned wings.
Remember, they’re not only a sight to behold but also plays a crucial role in the ecosystem.
Southern Silver Jewel (Hypochrysops halyaetus)
The Southern Silver Jewel is an intriguing butterfly species native to Tasmania.
Diving into more detailed information about them:
- Habitat: Southern Silver Jewels primarily live in southeastern Australia’s heathlands and woodlands.
- Appearance: They boast a vivid silver mark on their lower wings coupled with a brown to black body contrast.
- Size: As medium-sized butterflies, they typically reach a wingspan between 1.5 to 2 inches (4 to 5 cm).
- Diet: Adult butterflies survive on nectar from native shrubs, while larvae feed on buds and flowers of their host plants.
- Reproduction: Interestingly, this species uses ‘pupal mating’, where males secure a mate before she hatches from her pupa.
- Lifespan: They have a relatively brief life, typically around 25 days in the wild.
- Host Plants: Their larvae often reside in plants belonging to the Fabaceae family such as Gastrolobium and Brachysema.
Enjoy the experience of discovering these silver jewels in their natural habitat, a true testament to Tasmania’s butterfly diversity.
Chocolate Argus (Junonia hedonia ida)
The Chocolate Argus is native to Tasmania and is filled with numerous intriguing facets.
- Habitat: It’s a sun-loving butterfly, occupying open areas and gardens.
- Appearance: The Argus possesses a striking brown coloration, intertwined with distinctive white and blue spots.
- Size: With a wingspan of about 1.5-2 inches (3.8-5 cm), it’s an average-sized butterfly.
- Diet: Primarily feed on the nectars of various flowering plants.
- Reproduction: Females lay single, spherical eggs on host plants, mostly species of Goodenia and Scaevola.
- Lifespan: They live for 1-2 months in the wild, with variations depending on environmental conditions.
- Host Plants: Primarily include Goodenia ovata (hop goodenia) and Scaevola species.
Ulysess Butterfly (Papilio ulysses)
Ulysses butterflies, scientifically named Papilio ulysses, are a striking species found in Tanzania.
- Habitat: Their preferred environment is tropical rainforest, but they can also be seen in more urban areas, flitting through well-established gardens.
- Appearance: They are known for their vibrant blue wings, which can appear to change color when viewed at different angles. Their body is black, providing a stark contrast to the blue.
- Size: A fully grown Ulysses butterfly can have a wingspan of around 5.5 inches (about 14 centimeters).
- Diet: In the caterpillar stage, they eat the leaves of trees. As adults, they typically feed on nectar from a variety of flowering plants.
- Reproduction: Ulysses butterflies lay spherical, pale green eggs. The emerging caterpillars are initially brown but later turn green.
- Lifespan: An adult Ulysses Butterfly usually lives for around 6 weeks.
- Host Plants: The larvae primarily feed on the leaves of the pink-flowered native guava (Eurycorymbus cavaleriei).
This rare butterfly with its vibrant colors makes Tanzania’s biodiversity even richer.
Exploring and learning about the various butterfly species in Tasmania is indeed a fascinating journey, with each species showcasing its own unique attributes and charm.
As we survey these 30 different species, we come to understand the rich and vibrant tapestry of butterfly biodiversity present on this island.
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