04 April, 2010

Lepidoptera and their larvae

Towards the end of the wet season there are butterflies, moths and their larvae everywhere. The huge caterpillar above is that of the Cairns Birdwing, our biggest butterfly, and is just about to pupate. Below is an Ambrax Swallowtail and its larva.

Ambrax are a midsized swallowtail. On one recent morning there were five species of swallow tail flying in the garden. Unfortunately, without breeding the animals they are hard to photograph; they wont sit still.

There are lots of ringlets. Here are the similar Orange Ringlet and Orange-streaked Ringlet.
I think this might be an Orchid Flash as it has the two tails per hind wing.
Like many butterflies this Northern Jezebel loves feeding on Pentas flowers in the garden. As well as planting the trees, shrubs and vines for the larvae it is necessary to have nectar plants or the adults will spend their time in your neighbours garden.
I once gave a box full of 'butterfly plants' to an acquaintance in Cairns. When I saw her a few months latter and asked after them I was told that she had removed them. Why? She didn't like to use so much spraying in the garden and they were always covered in grubs.
I think I saw a Spotted Jezebel last month. That would be right at the limit of its range.

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