Butterflies of Hervey’s Range

Winter may here, as I said in my last post, but the butterflies haven’t yet felt its full force. There are still plenty of flowers for the adults and greenery for the caterpillars, even on Hervey’s Range in Townsville’s cooler, drier hinterland.

These photos were taken on three successive visits between mid-April and mid-May and for this post I have simply sorted them by size: the female Varied Eggfly has a wingspan of about 85 mm, while the blues are in the 20 – 30 mm range.

Clicking on the images to see them in a lightbox will reveal extended captions including their Latin names.

Varied Eggfly
Female Varied Eggfly on snakeweed
Junonia orithya
Blue Argus aka Blue Pansy
Tawny Coster
Tawny Coster
Orange Bush-brown
Orange Bush-brown
Grass-yellow
Grass-yellow
Eurema
Grass-yellows puddling
Dusky Knight
Dusky Knight

All of the above are in the family Nymphalidae (Nymphs or Browns) except for the Grass-yellows which are in Pieridae (Whites and Yellows).  Those below are Blues (Lycaenidae), our largest family although our smallest butterflies, and I haven’t attempted to identify them.

Lycaenidae
Mating pair
Lycaenidae
Blue
Lycaenidae
Tailed blue
Lycaenidae
Blue
More information
  • The Very Varied Eggfly is an album of my photos on flickr and shows most of the colour forms of the female, as well as males of the species.
  • The Tawny Coster only arrived in our region a year ago and I wrote about its arrival here.
  • ‘Puddling’ is the proper term for butterflies’ habit of landing on mud (as here) or wet sand (as here), or beside shallow puddles (as here) to suck up water.

Walking in the Paluma rainforest

Paluma Dam track
The walking track

A recent trip to Paluma Dam with the good people of Wildlife Queensland was enjoyable for the wildlife and just being in the rainforest but was far from strenuous. We walked across the dam wall and along a vehicular track to the west of the dam, took a side track to down to the dam shore, and returned the same way Continue reading “Walking in the Paluma rainforest”

Ringlets on grassy hillsides

Brown Ringlet
Brown Ringlet at Paluma Dam

Ringlets (Hypocysta spp.) are smallish, brownish butterflies showing attractive flashes of orange in flight but camouflaged at rest unless they spread their wings to bask. Their wingspan is about 30mm, very much the same size as the common Grass-yellows (Eurema spp.) but noticeably smaller than Migrants, Crows and Tigers and larger than the Blues.

All six Australian species are found on the East coast and we have three of them in the Townsville region, the Orange, Northern and Brown Ringlets (H. adiante, H. irius and H. metirius) although the last of these is not common close to Townsville. In fact, we rarely see any of them except on the rocky grassy slopes of Castle Hill, Mt Stuart and the Many Peaks Range. Why not? Continue reading “Ringlets on grassy hillsides”

The invasion of the butterflies

Tawny Coster, Acraea terpsicore,
Tawny Coster (female) on Cape Pallarenda

The Tawny Coster, an Asian species, was first noticed in northern Australia five years ago and has been spreading southwards ever since. It has reached Townsville in the last few weeks.

I was alerted to the alien invasion by a friend in Bushland Beach who saw them a fortnight ago and asked me if I had seen any  Continue reading “The invasion of the butterflies”