A new species of pupae presented itself in the garden adjoining the fruit trees, and as we hadn’t noticed the pupa before this year, it was interesting to see what species would emerge.

Early one morning, not far from its chrysalis location, a Red Spotted Jezebel Butterfly, Delias aganippe, emerged, drying its wings.


Red Spotted Jezebel
Red Spotted Jezebel

Interestingly it seems the adult was attracted to the Quandong trees as the caterpillars only eat parasitic plants (such as trees of the sandalwood family). Of the pupae, only one other emerged, with the others still being in the pupa state.

Butterflies have strict requirements in terms of min/max temperature tolerance. As well as the habitats they occupy are determined by where their larval food plants grow, the availability of adult food sources and roosting sites. Mutant genes control features, both physical and behavioural, that are only present during certain stages of the lifecycle, including migration. It will be interesting to see what occurs over the following years.

Rebecca Hosking

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