This page contains pictures and information about Butterflies in
the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
Butterflies and Moths are closely related insects which are classified
together as an Order Lepidoptera, meaning 'scaly wings'. The colour of
the butterflies are formed by the scales which cover the wings. Those scales
will come off easily and this is considered as an evolved weapon against the
Spider's web. Usually butterflies are colourful and beautiful. Why butterflies
are beautiful? We have the discussions here.
Another feature of butterflies is their mouths, or their
proboscis, that curl up under the heads. Their proboscis can be extended and
inserted into the flowers to suck up liquid food. They are complete
metamorphosis. The larva is caterpillar, with a head and soft thorax and
usually 10- segmented abdomen. The adults are usually feed on nectar and pollen, while caterpillars
feed on plants leave
are most abundant in warm season. The best time to observe butterflies in
Brisbane is between October and April. Although we still can see some common
species all year round.
- There are in general five big families of butterflies. We have all five
families of butterflies in Brisbane. Unlike most other insects, the family name of a
butterfly is easy to tell. With some practice, you can tell which family the butterfly
belongs to , even if you've never seen the butterfly before.
HESPERIIDAE - Skippers
- The butterflies in this family are from small to medium size.
Their bodies are large and with relatively small wings. They are usually
yellow or white in a black background colour. They fly in a very rapid and jerky
style, this is why they call skippers. They are not as colourful as the other
- Most of the butterflies in this family are large in size and
with brilliant colours. They are called Swallowtails because some of species
have tailed hind-wings. However, not all family members have tails. Most
Swallowtails found in Brisbane have no tails.
- Family PIERIDAE - Whites and Yellows
- Most of the butterflies in this family are in medium size. They usually
have white or yellow wings with black edges, and some have red and yellow
patterns beneath their wings. They don't have tails on their hind-wings. Their
flight is rapid and they usually fly erratically amongst the plants.
NYMPHALIDAE - Danaids, Browns
- This is the largest butterfly family, with sizes that vary from
large to small. They show a great diversity of colour and pattern, although most
of them with some brown colour. One distinct characteristic of this family
of butterflies is that only four legs can be seen. Their forelegs are reduced.
LYCAENIDAE - Blues and Coppers
- The butterflies in this family are from small to very small.
Most of them have metallic colours, either blue or orange-brown in colour.
They fly rapidly and erratically close to the ground.
Here we would like to thank Don Herbison-Evans for his
kindly advices on the identity of some caterpillars and adults in our web site.
Caterpillars web site is our major reference.
- 1. Create
More Butterflies - by Frank Jordan and Helen Schwencke,
Earthling Enterprises, 2005.
- 2. Australian Butterflies - Charles McCubbin, Nelson, Sydney, 1971.
- 3. The Complete
Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia - Michael F Braby,
Australian National University, CSIRO 2004.
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