Don Herbison-Evans (
Stella Crossley ( Stella.Crossley@med.monash.edu.au )
(updated 19 September 2003)
discarded skin of Caterpillar
length: 1.4 cms
(Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)
These Caterpillars feed on various Passion vines ( PASSIFLORACEAE ), including the Australian natives :
as well as the introduced :
and also :
The female butterfly will also lay her eggs on other introduced PASSIFLORACEAE such as:
but the Caterpillars cannot thrive on these plants.
The Caterpillars are brown, with branched black spines arising from black spots all over the body. The Caterpillars bunch together initially, but as they mature, separate onto different leaves. They grow to a length of about 3 cms.
The pupa is cream mottled with orange and black, with two blunt horns on its head. It hangs head downward by a silk cremaster from the foodplant. It has a length of about 2 cms.
The forewings of the adult butterflies are transparent, with black spots.
The hindwings are white with a subterminal black arc, and a black border containing white spots. The butterflies have a wing span of about 6 cms. They are inclined to congregate around larval foodplants.
The eggs of this species are ellipsoidal, ribbed, and a creamy-yellow, and each has a height of about 1 mm. They are laid in clusters of several dozen on a leaf or stem of a foodplant.
The species is found in Indonesia, the Solomons, New Caledonia, New Guinea, and in most of the north and east of Australia, from the north of Western Australia through the Northern Teritory, Queenland, and New South Wales, to Victoria, and South Australia. This is the only Glasswing found in Australia.
Further reading :
Michael F. Braby, Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 535-536.