30 Butterfly Species in Western Australia
Discover the vibrant butterfly biodiversity in Western Australia, boasting eye-catching spots, patterns, and hues unmatched in nature.
Get to know 30 butterfly species native to the region, each with their own unique charm and characteristics.
Dive into an exhilarating journey, second only to witnessing their mesmerizing beauty in the wild.
Meadow Argus (Junonia villida)
When you travel across Western Australia, the Meadow Argus often becomes a familiar sight. It’s a plentiful butterfly species in the sunny continent, enjoying a broad range of habitats.
- Habitat: These butterflies can be found in your garden, roadside vegetation, and open forests.
- Appearance: The Meadow Argus has brown wings with eye-shaped motifs. Its underside is a lighter, almost sandy hue.
- Size: This butterfly species measures about 1.97 inches (50 mm) in wingspan.
- Diet: Adult butterflies feed on nectar, while the caterpillars munch on foliage from a range of plant species.
- Reproduction: After mating, female butterflies lay pale, spherical eggs on host plants.
- Lifespan: A typical lifespan ranges from a couple of weeks to a month, with the breeding cycle continuing throughout the year.
- Host Plants: Some common host plants include Gomphocarpus physocarpus, Adenanthos sericeus, and Glycine max amongst others.
Australian Painted Lady (Vanessa kershawi)
The Australian Painted Lady is a delightful butterfly that brings life and color into the many backyards and reserves across Western Australia.
- Habitat: The Aussie Painted Lady prefers open, sunlit spaces featuring their favorite nectar plants.
- Appearance: It displays a complex pattern of brown, black, and orange hues on its wings, with a ‘painted’ look giving them their common name.
- Size: It’s moderately sized, with a wingspan reaching up to 2 – 2.25 inches (5.1-5.7cm).
- Diet: Adult butterflies are drawn to brightly colored blossoms, where they feed on the nectar.
- Reproduction: Females lay pale green eggs singly on the underside of host plants’ leaves.
- Lifespan: Short but eventful lifetime of several weeks.
- Host Plants: Favourite host plants include cudweed and various everlasting daisies.
Sightings of this vibrantly colored creature are sure to brighten up any day!
Australian Admiral (Vanessa itea)
The Australian Admiral, scientifically known as Vanessa itea, is a distinctive and appealing butterfly species that can be found in Western Australia.
Its beauty is amplified by its velvety black wings contrasted with white and orange patterns.
- Habitat: This butterfly is quite prevalent in various habitats, including urban areas, forests, woodlands, and heath.
- Appearance: Characterised by their dark black wings adorned with white and orange patches, they are truly stunning.
- Size: On average, Australian Admirals can reach a wingspan of around 2-2.6 inches (50-65mm).
- Diet: Caterpillars feed on nettle, while adults sip nectar from flowers.
- Reproduction: Females lay tiny pale green eggs on nettle leaves, whereupon hatching, caterpillars will emerge.
- Lifespan: Typically, Australian Admiral butterflies can live for around 4 weeks as an adult.
- Host Plants: Nettle plants (family Urticaceae) primarily serve as host plants for the caterpillars.
Common Grass-blue (Zizina labradus)
The Common Grass-blue (Zizina labradus) is a small, delicate butterfly species frequently seen in Western Australia.
- Habitat: These butterflies prefer grasslands, open woodlands, and urban areas where their host plants are found.
- Appearance: Displaying a beautiful grass-blue color, males are vibrant while females have a more subdued hue.
- Size: With a wingspan of approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm), these butterflies are quite petite.
- Diet: Adult Grass-blues feed on nectar from various flowers, enhancing local plant pollination.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs on the undersides of leaves, leading to a gestation period of 1-2 weeks.
- Lifespan: Overall, they have a short lifespan of 1-2 months.
- Host Plants: Clover, alfalfa, and other legume species serve as their primary host plants.
With their fascinating life cycle and important role in the ecosystem, the Common Grass-blue butterfly is truly a remarkable creature.
Chequered Swallowtail (Papilio demoleus)
The intriguing Chequered Swallowtail, also known as Papilio Demoleus, adds its vibrant hues to Western Australia’s butterfly ecology.
It’s an extraordinary sight that relentlessly grasps your fascination.
Here’s a quick glance at the features of the Chequered Swallowtail:
- Habitat: Frequently seen in urban areas, gardens, and coastal regions.
- Appearance: Boasts a black body with a series of white, chequered markings.
- Size: Adult wingspan falls between 2.8 to 3.5 inches (70 to 90 millimeters).
- Diet: Feeds on nectar from a variety of flowering plants.
- Reproduction: Lays spherical, whitish eggs on the underside of host plants.
- Lifespan: The butterfly lives for approximately one month.
- Host Plants: Known to favour Citrus species, including oranges and lemons.
Their striking looks, adaption to urban environments, and non-choosy diet make them a delightful addition to any garden.
Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
The Monarch Butterfly is probably the most recognized and celebrated of all butterfly species, gracing every corner of the planet with its elegant flight.
- Habitat: Traditionally, Monarchs are seen in forests, open fields, marshes, barrier islands, and particularly in gardens that contain milkweed plants.
- Appearance: They sport a distinctive black, orange, and white pattern. The males have a slight variance in color, appearing brighter with a spot on each hindwing.
- Size: They have a wingspan ranging from 3.5 to 4 inches (8.9 to 10.2 cm).
- Diet: Monarchs mainly feed on the nectar of flowers, but the larvae solely feed on milkweed species.
- Reproduction: Female Monarchs lay their eggs on the underside of milkweed leaves where the larvae feed and develop into caterpillars.
- Lifespan: Adults live from 2 to 6 weeks but the last generation of the year can live up to 8 months.
- Host Plants: Milkweed plants. This is crucial since the plant contains toxins caterpillars use as protection from predators.
Caper White (Belenois java)
The Caper White, scientifically known as Belenois java, is distinctive within the monarch clan of butterflies found in Western Australia.
- Habitat: These tireless travelers often inhabit open woodland, tropical and subtropical areas.
- Appearance: Dressed in dazzling white with black borders and prominent black spots, Caper Whites manage to be strikingly attractive and elusive at the same time.
- Size: Adult Caper Whites span about 2.4 inches (about 6 cm) from wingtip to wingtip.
- Diet: Caper Whites feed on nectar from various plants, but they have a particular preference for caper bushes, hence their name.
- Reproduction: Females usually lay pale green eggs on the underside of leaves from the host plant.
- Lifespan: These butterflies live about two weeks in the adult stage, an average lifespan among butterflies.
- Host Plants: Favored host plants are usually of the Capparis species or related plants. They can also feed on Dipterygium glaucum and Tribulus terrestris.
Western Jewel Butterfly (Hypochrysops halyaetus)
Western Jewel is one of the distinct butterfly species in Western Australia. This butterfly is different from others in several ways.
Here are some key details about the Western Jewel Butterfly:
- Habitat: Western Jewel Butterflies are mostly found in coastal areas. They also inhabit open woodlands.
- Appearance: They possess brilliant blue wings with black and white edges. A notable characteristic is a red ‘jewel’ spot on the upper wing.
- Size: They tend to be small to medium in size, with a wingspan around 1.2–1.6 inches (30-40mm).
- Diet: Adult butterflies primarily feed on the nectar of plants.
- Reproduction: Their reproduction cycle occurs during the warmer months, from November to March.
- Lifespan: An average life span is about a month in the wild.
- Host Plants: The larvae feed on a variety of plants such as Acacia and Grevilleas. They are also attended by ants.
Common Albatross (Appias paulina)
The Common Albatross is the quintessence of western Australia’s butterfly species. Each trait that characterizes it has a pivotal importance in the dance of nature’s harmony.
- Habitat: Preferring warmer climates, these butterflies fill the forests and gardens across Western Australia with a variety of colours.
- Appearance: The Common Albatross sports attractive large white wings with black margins and veins for display and identification.
- Size: With a wingspan of 2 to 2.8 inches (50 to 70mm), it’s a medium-sized butterfly.
- Diet: Their feeding process is fascinating as they relish nectar from a variety of flowers.
- Reproduction: Their reproduction reminds us of nature’s wonders. The female lays eggs on the leaves of host plants.
- Lifespan: In the wild, these butterflies live for 4-5 weeks, a brief but vibrant life.
- Host Plants: Caterpillars of the Common Albatross feed on Capparis species, proving the crucial role of native plants in supporting local fauna.
Common Brown (Heteronympha merope)
Welcome to the enchanting world of the Common Brown butterfly. As you explore Western Australia, you may spot this unique species leaping to and fro.
- Habitat: You will typically find the Common Brown in grassy woodland areas, flourishing in the native flora.
- Appearance: Males display a darker brown tone with striking eyespots, while females are paler, showcasing an enthralling intricate pattern.
- Size: These butterflies span 1.6 to 2.4 inches (4 to 6 cm), a moderate size that complements their swift agility.
- Diet: Primarily, they favour the nectar from flowers but don’t ignore the occasional sap or rotting fruit.
- Reproduction: Common Browns congregate in large numbers during mating season, laying their eggs on grass blades.
- Lifespan: Average lifespan ranges from 2 weeks to 9 months, weather-dependant, with cold weather extending it.
- Host Plants: Specific types of Poa and Themeda grasses serve as home and food source for their eggs and caterpillars. Revel in the splendour of their dynamic existence!
Australian Gull (Cepora perimale)
The Australian Gull, scientifically known as Cepora perimale, is a butterfly species that’s native to Western Australia. Quite the sight, isn’t it?
- Habitat: You’ll likely spot these beauties in a variety of environments, from coastal areas to subtropical forests. They’re quite adaptable!
- Appearance: The Australian Gull has a unique look with creamy white wings adorned by dark brown edges. You might catch its flight on a sunny afternoon.
- Size: They’re quite petite, with a wingspan approximately 1.96 to 2 inches (50 to 52mm) wide.
- Diet: Nectar is their favorite dish, and they’re often seen flitting from one flower to the next.
- Reproduction: Like most butterflies, the female Australian Gull lays tiny eggs on host plants where the resulting caterpillars will feed.
- Lifespan: They live for around a week as butterflies, most of that spent seeking mates and reproducing.
- Host Plants: They prefer plants of the family Rutaceae, specifically Citrus species, for their caterpillar stage.
Isn’t it amazing how tiny creatures like the Australian Gull play such significant roles in our ecosystems?
Heath Ochre (Trapezites phigalia)
Enter the enchanting world of the Heath Ochre, a part of the Hesperiidae family, with remarkable presence in Western Australia. These butterflies have a unique allure that sets them apart.
- Habitat: Favoring heathlands and open forests, they hold a charming rural touch.
- Appearance: Their upper wing surface sports a peculiar apricot color with darker wingtips.
- Size: With wingspans varying between 1.2 and 1.5 inches (3 to 3.8 cm), they are pleasing to the eye.
- Diet: Adult Heath Ochres sip nectar from native flowers. Meanwhile, caterpillars munch on grass.
- Reproduction: Females distribute their eggs towards the base of food plants.
- Lifespan: Their life cycle carries on for around 9 months.
- Host Plants: They fancy Wallaby Grass and Kangaroo Grass for the larvae stage.
This relative small butterfly is notably elusive with its swift and low flying habits. Graceful and beautiful, the Heath Ochre is a sight to behold.
Dainty Swallowtail (Papilio anactus)
Meet the Dainty Swallowtail, a unique butterfly species found in Western Australia. This butterfly, with its striking appearance, makes a remarkable sight.
- Habitat: Dainty Swallowtails favor open forests and urban gardens, adding a dash of color wherever they flutter.
- Appearance: They boast a black body with yellow spots and white bands across their wings, making them easily identifiable.
- Size: Adults have a wingspan of roughly 3.1 inches (80 millimeters), making them quite dainty indeed.
- Diet: The butterflies feed on nectar from flowers, while their caterpillars prefer citrus leaves.
- Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves, where they will soon hatch into caterpillars.
- Lifespan: The lifespan, from egg to adult, is around 30-40 days – a quick, yet beautiful life cycle.
- Host Plants: Citrus family plants like lemons, oranges, and limes serve as hosts, providing nourishment for these butterflies throughout their life cycle.
Lesser Wanderer (Danaus petilia)
The Lesser Wanderer (Danaus petilia) is a sight to behold.
- Habitat: Predominantly found in open woodlands, grasslands, and pastures.
- Appearance: The Lesser Wanderer displays a fascinating orange pattern on the upper side of their wings, with black margins and white spots studding the wingtips.
- Size: You’ll notice that these butterflies are generally around 2.4 inches (6 cm) in size when the wings are fully extended.
- Diet: They have a predilection for nectar from a variety of flowers, specifically milkweed.
- Reproduction: Females lay cream-coloured eggs on the undersides of leaves. These tiny creatures then transition through the typical stages from caterpillar to butterfly.
- Lifespan: A Lesser Wanderer’s lifespan can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on environmental factors.
- Host Plants: Primarily, they use the various species of Milkweed (Genus Asclepias) as their host plants, where they lay their eggs.
This species is a delight for butterfly enthusiasts and contributes to the biodiversity of Western Australia.
Orchard Swallowtail (Papilio aegeus)
Moving on to our list, we encounter the magnificent Orchard Swallowtail, scientifically termed as Papilio aegeus.
This butterfly species appears commonplace across many regions of Australia but exhibits a special predilection towards Western Australia.
- Habitat: Mainly tropical regions, gardens, orchards, and forests.
- Appearance: Adult males shimmer black with a snow-white spot on each wing. Females are similar but have additional cream patches.
- Size: They are quite sizable, measuring between 3.5 to 4.3 inches (90 to 110mm).
- Diet: Sipping nectar from flowers like lantana, bottlebrushes, and grevilleas is their favorite activity.
- Reproduction: Females lay pale green eggs on host plants. These hatch into larvae within a couple of days.
- Lifespan: The lifespan of an Orchard Swallowtail ranges from 4 to 6 weeks in their butterfly stage.
- Host Plants: Citrus trees, including lime, orange, and lemon trees, serve as important hosts, providing food and shelter to these beautiful creatures.
Two-spotted Line-blue (Nacaduba biocellata)
The Two-spotted Line-blue, or scientifically known as Nacaduba biocellata, is a fascinating creature in Western Australia’s butterfly repertoire.
- Habitat: This butterfly thrives in diverse environments from eucalyptus forests, open woodlands to suburban gardens.
- Appearance: With fetching dual spots of white to turquoise blue on its underwing, it’s a compact beauty. The males boast a metallic blue topside, while the females exhibit a bluish-brown hue.
- Size: A relatively small species, stretching only about 1 inch (2.5 cm).
- Diet: As adults, they sip on flower nectar. Larvae savor the foliage of their host plants.
- Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on the undersides of host plant leaves, which subsequently serve as food for the emerging caterpillars.
- Lifespan: The total lifespan from egg to adult usually spans a few weeks.
- Host Plants: Caterpillars feed primarily on mangrove plants like Bruguiera and Avicennia species.
Remember, observing these creatures should come with the responsibility of preserving their habitats.
Black Jezebel (Delias nigrina)
Few butterfly species match the enchanting beauty of the Black Jezebel.
- Habitat: Found in south-west Western Australia, they’re a common sight in eucalypt forests and urban gardens.
- Appearance: Characterised by black wings, displaying bold bands of white and red spots on the edges.
- Size: The adult butterflies have a span of about 2.5 inches or 64 mm.
- Diet: The caterpillars feed on Mistletoe, while adults are nectar-lovers, with Eucalyptus flowers being a favourite.
- Reproduction: During spring and summer, females lay pale blue eggs on mistletoe leaves.
- Lifespan: The full life cycle lasts approximately 6-8 weeks. Individuals live for about 4 weeks after reaching adulthood.
- Host Plants: The larvae engage in a mutual relationship with ants, often found on Mistletoe (Amyema species). The Black Jezebel butterflies are indeed nature’s marvels, transforming gardens into idyllic landscapes.
Bright-eyed Brown (Heteronympha cordace)
The Bright-eyed Brown butterfly, scientifically known as Heteronympha cordace, is a fascinating species that is quintessentially Australian.
- Habitat: This species favours eucalyptus woodland and dry forest habitats. Interestingly, it can also thrive in urban environments such as parks and gardens.
- Appearance: Bright-eyed Browns are generally brown in colour, complemented by striking eyespots on the underside of their wings.
- Size: The average wingspan of this butterfly is in the range of 1.6 to 1.9 inches (40 to 50 mm).
- Diet: The adult Bright-eyed Brown butterfly primarily feeds on flower nectar, with a preference for wattles.
- Reproduction: Female butterflies lay individual eggs on the host plant leaves, which hatch into larvae after two weeks.
- Lifespan: Their total lifecycle spans about two months, subject to environmental conditions.
- Host Plants: These butterflies use native grasses as host plants for their larvae, including Poa and Themeda species.
Australian Rustic (Cupha prosope)
The Australian Rustic is a beautiful butterfly species found abundantly in Western Australia. Let’s get to know more about them.
- Habitat: Thriving in a variety of habitats from rainforests to home gardens, they love damp areas.
- Appearance: The upper side of the wing is an attractive mix of brown and orange. The underside is a patterned light brown.
- Size: With an average wingspan of around 2.5-3 inches (6.35-7.62 cm), they are medium-sized butterflies.
- Diet: The caterpillars feed on a diet of native vines while adults are fond of nectar from flowering plants.
- Reproduction: The female can lay up to 200 eggs on leaf tops. The eggs are pale green and hatch within a week.
- Lifespan: Their typical lifespan is around 6 months, which is quite long for a butterfly.
- Host Plants: The larvae prefer plants from the Menispermaceae, or moonseed, family.
Now, you have a snapshot of the Australian Rustic – a true gem in Western Australia’s rich biodiversity.
Australian Skipper (Anisynta dominula)
The Australian Skipper is indeed a sight to behold. Commonly found across various habitats in Western Australia, they offer a splendid display of nature’s beauty.
- Habitat: Prefers sunny, open environments typically abundant with grass. Their habitats range from urban parks to coastal dunes.
- Appearance: Characterized by their brown color with hints of orange. They have black forewing tips and a tiny black spot on their hindwing underside.
- Size: This species maintains a moderately-sized wingspan, approximately 1.2 inches (3 cm) across.
- Diet: As adults, they feed primarily on nectar. The caterpillars prefer a diet of grasses including Cortaderia selloana and Poa annua.
- Reproduction: Skippers reproduce through eggs laid on host plants. The small, spherical eggs hatch into caterpillars that form a shelter by folding leaves.
- Lifespan: They have an average lifespan of up to 2 months.
- Host Plants: Mostly grass species, particularly Cortaderia selloana and Poa annua.
Spotted Jezebel (Delias aganippe)
The Spotted Jezebel, or Delias aganippe, is a vibrant butterfly species that can be commonly found in Western Australia.
- Habitat: Primarily an inhabitant of open woodlands and urban areas.
- Appearance: Recognizable due to its striking white spots on a black background, and bold red and yellow wing under surfaces.
- Size: Medium-size butterfly species, with a wingspan of about 2 inches (around 50 millimeters).
- Diet: Mainly nectar from flowers.
- Reproduction: These butterflies lay their eggs on the leaves of mistletoe, their host plant. The eggs are light blue in color and hatch in around one week.
- Lifespan: Its life cycle, from egg to adult, spans about 6 weeks.
- Host Plants: This butterfly’s larvae feed on various species of mistletoe, particularly Amyema miquelii and Amyema pendula in Western Australia.
The Spotted Jezebel is a fascinating example of Western Australia’s diverse and colourful butterfly species.
White-banded Grass-dart (Ocybadistes walkeri)
The White-banded Grass-dart is a species of butterfly endemic to Western Australia. With a distinct and charming appeal, it complements the diverse ecosystem.
- Habitat: Thriving in subtropical regions, it blends with the greenery of grasslands, parks and open woodland areas.
- Appearance: It displays a white band across caterpillar-like brown wings. The underside dazzles with multi-hued patterns, enhancing its beauty.
- Size: A petite creature, it measures about 1 inch or 2.5 cm in wing-span, perfect for flitting amongst leaves and stems.
- Diet: As a caterpillar, it munches on grass. Once matured, this butterfly seeks nectar from flowers.
- Reproduction: The female lays eggs on its host plant. Upon hatching, the cycle of transformation from caterpillar to butterfly begins.
- Lifespan: Exact lifespan is difficult to determine due to various factors, but typically it’s a few weeks.
- Host Plants: Favours varieties of grass—thus its name— including Wallaby grass and Tussock grass species, where it lays eggs and begins its life journey.
Spotted Sedge-skipper (Hesperilla ornata)
A fairly common sight in Western Australia, the Spotted Sedge-skipper (‘Hesperilla ornata’) is a fascinating butterfly species.
- Habitat: This butterfly prefers open grassy areas, particularly where its host plants grow.
- Appearance: The Spotted Sedge-skipper presents a unique blend of brown and white spots on the upper side of its wings.
- Size: With a wingspan of approximately 1.18-1.37 inches (30-35 mm), it’s a small-sized butterfly.
- Diet: Adult butterflies sip nectar from various plants, showcasing a preference for native Australian flowers.
- Reproduction: Like other butterflies, the females lay eggs on their specific host plants where the caterpillars can feed.
- Lifespan: Their exact lifespan isn’t known, but most small butterflies live just a few weeks as adults.
- Host Plants: The larvae feed primarily on various grass species, particularly those in the sedge family.
Next time you’re out on a walk, keep an eye out for these fluttering beauties in grassy areas.
Golden Ant-blue (Acrodipsas aurata)
In your journey through the various butterfly species of Western Australia, you’ll come across the vibrant Golden Ant-blue butterfly, scientifically known as Acrodipsas aurata.
This rare gem is not only a sight to behold but also an interesting species to study.
- Habitat: It prefers dry woodland areas and coastal regions.
- Appearance: They display stunning golden brown wings with small black spots, creating a contrasting pattern that leaves spectators in awe.
- Size: Don’t be fooled by their name, as they reach a moderate wingspan of around 1 inch (2.5 centimeters).
- Diet: As larvae, they feed on ant secretions while the adult diet typically includes nectar from various flowers.
- Reproduction: The female butterfly lays her eggs on the host plants, usually found in the company of ants.
- Lifespan: Their lifespan extends up to around one month, making each of their brightly-colored days precious.
- Host Plants: Observed to have a fondness for plants like the Love Creeper (Comesperma volubile), which thrives in their preferred habitats.
Fiery Jewel (Hypochrysops ignitus)
The Fiery Jewel is one of the lesser-known yet fascinating butterfly species found in Western Australia.
- Habitat: This butterfly prefers mixed woodland habitats, particularly where acacia species grow.
- Appearance: Fiery Jewel possesses a vibrant orange-red colouration with intricate vein markings, living up to its name.
- Size: As an adult, it spans to about 1.3-1.4 inches (3.5 cm) in terms of wingspan.
- Diet: You’ll often find it sipping nectar from flowers. Larvae feed on mistletoes.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs on young shoots of acacia plants, where the larvae later feast.
- Lifespan: Like most butterfly species, the adult Fiery Jewel lives for a few weeks.
- Host Plants: Acacia species and mistletoes belong to the diet of this butterfly’s larvae.
With such distinctive characteristics, the Fiery Jewel is just one of the many fluttering marvels that call Western Australia home.
Imperial Hairstreak (Jalmenus evagoras)
The Imperial Hairstreak, or Jalmenus evagoras, is a magical sight. Native to Australia, it thrives in various habitats and has an interesting life cycle that captivates many onlookers.
- Habitat: This butterfly inhabits woodlands, suburban areas, and gardens.
- Appearance: Blue-black body with metallic green spots. It has a small tail on each hind wing.
- Size: Adults have an average wingspan of about 1.4 inches (35mm).
- Diet: Adult butterflies feed on nectar from flowering plants, while caterpillars eat leaves.
- Reproduction: Females lay eggs on host plants. The fully grown larvae (caterpillars) then transform into pupae, which metamorphose into adult butterflies.
- Lifespan: The average lifespan is a couple of weeks in the wild.
- Host Plants: Its favorite host plants are in the Acacia family, particularly the black wattle (Acacia mearnsii).
So, next time you’re in Western Australia, keep your eyes peeled for the shimmer of the Imperial Hairstreak. This remarkable creature is a sight you definitely won’t want to miss.
Tailed Emperor (Polyura sempronius)
The Tailed Emperor is quite a sight, making your heart flutter as it glides past you.
- Habitat: They’re not picky. Forests, woodlands, coastal regions and suburbia, they call it home.
- Appearance: Gorgeous and varied, they are. Browns, whites, and purples, with multiple eye-like designs on their wings. Stunning, truly.
- Size: Don’t be fooled, at about 3 inches (roughly 7.6 cm), they’re one of the bigger butterflies you will come across in Western Australia.
- Diet: As caterpillars, they munch on native trees. As adults, however, they prefer the nectar of a variety of flowers.
- Reproduction: They lay their tiny, white eggs onto the host plants they’ve chosen.
- Lifespan: Typically, adults live about a month, up to 40 days if they’re lucky.
- Host Plants: The caterpillars usually feed on Wattle trees (Acacia), explaining why you might often find them there.
It might be time to pack your binoculars and go butterfly spotting!
Amethyst Hairstreak (Jalmenus icilius)
The Amethyst Hairstreak (Jalmenus icilius) is one of the most striking butterfly species found in Western Australia.
Here’s a closer look at this iridescent gem:
- Habitat: Mainly inhabits open woodland and urban gardens.
- Appearance: Its upper wing surface sparkles bluish-purple in sunlight with a line of red spots.
- Size: Adults have a wingspan of about 1.1-1.3 inches (2.8-3.3 centimeters).
- Diet: Adult butterflies feed on the nectar of various flowers, while the caterpillars prefer Acacia foliage.
- Reproduction: Females lay their eggs on Acacia leaves, which the caterpillars enjoy upon hatching.
- Lifespan: The average life expectancy is around 4 weeks, although adults can live longer in a protected environment.
- Host Plants: Predominantly Acacia species, which is an important food source for the growing caterpillars.
Common Grass-yellow (Eurema hecabe)
You might be surprised about the Common Grass-yellow. It’s a butterfly species you can spot commonly in Western Australia.
Let’s delve into its characteristics:
- Habitat: Open country areas, bamboo forests, gardens, roadsides, and generally anywhere with open sunlit grassland. It’s where you’d find them fluttering around.
- Appearance: A vibrant yellow hue welcomes your sight. It has zebra-like stripes on the body and spots on the wings for distinction.
- Size: With a wingspan that can reach up to 1.8 inches (4.5 cm), they fit right into the palm of your hand.
- Diet: Their primary diet consists of flower nectar. They have a penchant for tiny flowers.
- Reproduction: Females lay single eggs on the underside of host plant leaves.
- Lifespan: In their adult form, they can live up to 1 week. It’s rather quick compared to other species.
- Host Plants: Cassia species and other legumes serve as their host plants. Caterpillars also mainly prefer these.
So, the next time you spot a yellow blurr whizzing by, try getting a closer look. It might just be the Common Grass-yellow.
Common Eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina)
The Common Eggfly, also known as Hypolimnas bolina, is a marvel to behold. Its habitat and lifestyle make it one of the enchanting butterfly species in Western Australia.
- Habitat: This species thrives in a variety of environments. They are common in gardens, coastal areas, and woodlands.
- Appearance: Males display a striking black and white spots pattern, while the females have brown wings with white marks and blue crescents.
- Size: The Common Eggfly boasts a wingspan of around 2.8-3.5 inches or 7-9 cm. Quite an impressive size for a butterfly.
- Diet: Adult butterflies primarily feed on nectar from flowering plants. However, they’re not picky and you may also find them sipping on mashed ripe fruits.
- Reproduction: Females lay pale-green eggs, often on the undersides of host plant’s leaves.
- Lifespan: Their lifespan mostly depends on predators and the harshness of seasons, but they usually live about 7 to 14 days.
- Host Plants: The larval food plants are species of Urticaceae family, particularly of the genus Pipturus and Elatostema.
Exploring the 30 butterfly species in Western Australia is truly an enthralling journey.
Each species unravels a unique facet of nature’s brilliance.
Leave a comment with your thoughts on these fabulous creations of Mother Earth.