Garden Butterflies

Butterflies are common visitors to backyards and a wide variety of species drop in to feed on nectar from blossoms. Some are regular garden-dwellers, their caterpillars feeding on widely grown garden plants or street trees. A few species are even pests of citrus, palms and vegetables.

Common Crow, Euploea core

 Common Crow, Euploea core

Caterpillars are boldly striped with four pairs of tentacles. In Brisbane gardens, they feed mostly on oleanders and figs. The pupa is brilliant metallic silver and suspended beneath a leaf.

Orange Palmdart, Cephrenes augiades

Orange Palmdart, Cephrenes augiades

Caterpillars are pale green with banded heads. They feed on palms, sewing adjacent leaflets together to form feeding retreats. When the caterpillars pupate inside the same shelter they produce a whitish floury deposit.

Blue Triangle, Graphium sarpedon

Blue Triangle, Graphium sarpedon

Breeds on introduced Camphor Laurel trees (Cinnamomum camphora). Caterpillars are pale green and lie inconspicuously along the upper midrib of leaves.

Orchard Swallowtail, Papilio aegeus

Orchard Swallowtail, Papilio aegeus

Caterpillars feed on citrus. Young caterpillars are brown and white and resemble bird dropping. Older caterpillars are 'camouflage' green. When disturbed, the caterpillars extrude reddish tentacles from their heads and emit a strong smell.

Cabbage White, Pieris rapae

Cabbage White, Pieris rapae

Caterpillars are pale green with a thin yellowish line down back. Pest of cruciferous crops such as cabbages, cauliflower and broccoli.

Plumbago Blue, Leptotes plinius

Plumbago Blue, Leptotes plinius

The adult butterflies are rarely found far from Plumbago plants, including the common garden ornamental, Plumbago auriculata. Their flattened green caterpillars feed on the buds and flowers.

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