Butterflies and other invertebrates

The Australian Wet Tropics are not only home to 40% of Australian birds, but also to 68% of Australian butterflies. Of the roughly 435 butterfly species, 277 are found in North Queensland.

Close to 40000 species of insects have been recorded, including many large and colourful beetles and dragonflies.

The drier savannah country to the west adds to the variety of insects.

Our tropical climate also favours increased insect sizes, therefore you can find some of the largest insects in the world here:

-the world’s largest dragonfly, the Giant Petaltail (Petalura ingentissima), with a wingspan of 160mm,

-Australia’s largest butterfly, the Cairns Birdwing (Ornithoptera euphorion). The female has a wingspan of 150mm,

-Australia’s largest moth, the Hercules Moth (Coscinocera hercules), with a wingspan of 270mm,

– the world’s heaviest cockroach, the Giant Burrowing Cockroach (Macropanesthia rhinoceros), which grows to over 80mm in lenght, weighs up to 30g and lives for up to 10 years,

-the world’s strongest beetle, the Rhinoceros Beetle (Xylotrupes ulysses), up to 60mm long, and able to lift 850 times its own body weight,

-the largest stick insects here are almost half a meter long. We have the world’s loudest cicadas, and Australia’s (and possibly the world’s) largest ant, the 36mm long Bulldog Ant.

Some of the insects, which can be observed on our property:

-a large variety of butterflies (the beautiful Regent Skippers are especially numerous from November to March) and moths (to attract the latter, we set up a MV light and a white sheet on some evenings), 

fireflies in spring and summer, emerging from the creek area and dispersing through the forest,

Giant Petaltails cruising through the forest in summer,

-many different katydids and grasshoppers, as well as beetles and stick insects.

-several species of cicadas. The giant, aptly named, Red Roarers fortunately only have bumper adult populations every 5 to 7 years for a few weeks in early summer (they can be very noisy).

Following is a list of butterfly species, which we have identified on our property so far. We only photograph, do not capture them, thus the patchy nature of our list.

BUTTERFLY SPECIES

 (observed on our property)  

Generally, there are more butterflies in summer, but, unless otherwise mentioned, they fly all year).                                             most abundant in:

Papilionidae (Swallowtails)

Macleay's Swallowtail
Graphium macleayanum
Blue Triangle
Graphium choredon
Green-spotted Triangle
Graphium agamemnon
Orchard Swallowtail
Papilio aegeus
Ambrax Swallowtail
Papilio ambrax
Ulysses Swallowtail
Papilio ulysses
Chequered Swallowtail
Papilio demoleus
Clearwing Swallowtail
Cressida cressida
Cairns Birdwing
Ornithoptera euphorion
Hesperiidae (Skippers)
Regent Skipper
Euschemon rafflesia
Sept-March
Splendid Ochre
Trapezites symmomus
Aug-April
Lilac Grass-skipper
Toxidia doubledayi
Sept-April
Pieridae (Whites and Yellows)
Lemon Migrant
Catopsilia pomona
No-brand Grass-yellow (what a name!)
Eurema brigitta
Grey Albatross
Appias melania
Caper White
Belenois java
Red-banded Jezebel
Delias mysis
Black Jezebel
Delias nigrina
Nymphalidae (Nymphs)
Hamadryad
Tellervo zoilus
Blue Tiger
Tirumala hamata
Lesser Wanderer
Danaus petilia
Monarch
Danaus plexippus
Common Crow
Euploea corinna
Blue Argus
Junonia orithya
Meadow Argus
Junonia villida
Varied Eggfly
Hypolimnas bolina
Blue-banded Eggfly
Hypolimnas alimena
Leafwing
Doleschallia bisaltide
Evening Brown
Melanitis leda
Dusky Knight
Ypthima arctous
Northern Sword-grass Brown (Helena Brown)
Tisiphone helena
Brown Ringlet
Hypocysta metirius
Lycaenidae (Blues)
... Ciliate-blue
Anthene ...
Trident Pencil-blue
Candalides margarita
Varied Dusky-blue
Candalides hyacinthinus
Large Green-banded Blue
Danis danis
Hairy Line-blue
Erysichton lineatus
White-banded Line-blue
Nacaduba kurava
Purple Cerulean
Jamides phaseli
Black-spotted Grass-blue
Famegana alsulus

You might find these websites of interest:

Eminent entomologist David Rentz has a regular blog with very detailed information about insects, and excellent macro photographs:

www.bunyipco.blogspot.com.au

Alan Henderson, another local insect expert, has a minibeast website:

www.minibeastwildlife.com.au

For moth identification:

http://amo.ala.org.au/main.php

http://lepidoptera.butterflyhouse.com.au/moths.html

For stick insects:

http://phasmida.speciesfile.org/HomePage/Phasmida/HomePage.aspx

moths
3 moths on a string
Queensland Day Moth, Alcides metaurus
Queensland Day Moth

All photos taken on our property

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