Butterfly numbers around Townsville are creeping up in anticipation of the coming (we hope!) Wet season. This post brings together most of those I have photographed, in my garden or elsewhere, in the three weeks I have been back from Japan. (I still have more to say about Japan, of course, but I don’t want to get too far behind with local wildlife news.) Their size on screen doesn’t bear much relation to their size in real life but my sequence goes from the largest to the smallest.
Orchard Swallowtails vist us reasonably often. Both sexes are beautiful, but the male is the more dramatic of the two. Wingspan is about 120 mm, noticeably smaller than the female Cairns Birdwing (old photo) but comparable to the Ulysses (old photo) and bigger than almost every other butterfly.
The Pale Triangle is also a Swallowtail (i.e. a member of Papilionidae) but is only half the size of the Orchard so it is closer to the size of our commonest Nymphalidae, the Eggfly (old photos) and Chocolate Soldier (old photo). There are green and yellow forms but this blue form is the commonest in my garden.
Whites and Yellows
These two are Pieridae (Whites and Yellows). The Caper White is reasonably common and Braby calls the White Migrant ‘common and widespread’ but I have to say it is neither, in my Townsville experience: this is one of the first two I have captured. Every single Migrant in my garden, for years, has been a Lemon Migrant (older photos).
The Blues (Lycaenidae) are mostly quite small (around 30mm wingspan). The Copper Jewel is very pretty but not at all common (I spotted this one on a mangrove beside Ross Creek) while the Plumbago Blue is not so pretty but extremely common in gardens.