Animal Species:Blue Triangle Butterfly

The Blue Triangle Butterfly is an active butterfly moving quickly from flower to flower.

Blue Triangle Butterfly on leaf

R.Jessop © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Blue Triangle Butterfly

Identification

Commonly seen in Sydney gardens, the Blue Triangle Butterfly's triangular-shaped wings are vibrant turquoise-blue with black around the margins.

Size range

6.6-7.5 cm

Distribution

The Blue Triangle Butterfly is found in Eastern Australia, from Torres Strait and Cape York in Queensland to about 160 km south of Sydney.

Distribution by collection data

Biomaps map of Graphium sarpedon choredon specimens from the Australian Museum database

What does this mean?

Habitat

The Blue Triangle Butterfly is found in urban areas, forests and woodlands. Although preferring moist rainforest habitats, this species has survived well in Sydney's suburbs.

Feeding and Diet

The caterpillars of the Blue Triangle Butterfly have adapted to feed on a variety of plants including the introduced Camphor Laurel (Cinnamomum camphora).

Other behaviours and adaptations

The green Blue Triangle Butterfly larvae rest on the upperside of the leaves and can be difficult to see. If the plant is disturbed, you are more likely to smell them before you see them. Many caterpillars in this family (Papilionidae) have an 'osmeterium', which looks like a fleshy horn that pops up from a slit behind their head and emits a strong smell. In this species the osmeterium is yellow, but in other species it may be red.

Fossils

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Evolutionary Relationships

 

Danger to humans and first aid

 

Classification

Species:
sarpedon choredon
Genus:
Graphium
Subfamily:
Papilioninae
Family:
Papilionidae
Superfamily:
Papilionoidea
Order:
Lepidoptera
Class:
Insecta
Subphylum:
Uniramia
Phylum:
Arthopoda
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

Further Reading

null

References

 


Last Updated:

Tags butterflies, insects, invertebrates, arthropods, identification, wildlife of sydney,

4 comments

David Britton - 8.02 AM, 16 February 2011

Hi Serena,

In Sydney eggs will normally be found singly on the underside of leaves of the introduced camphor laurel. They are spherical, yellow-cream, and do not have much surface sculpture.

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d6/Commonjay_egg_sec.jpg

Serena Todd - 2.01 PM, 30 January 2011

Dave, what do the eggs of this species look like? Just saw the butterfly in my garden. Thanks!

David Britton - 12.12 PM, 29 December 2009

If the butterfly you saw was a blue triangle it would be highly unlikely that it was resident or even vagrant in SE Tasmania. The natural distribution extends as far south as coastal southern NSW, with verified southernmost records from Bawley Point and Ulladulla, so it would be unlikely that even a stray southern NSW specimen would make its all the way down to Tasmania. The only swallowtail/triangle which occurs naturally in Tasmania is Macleay's Triangle (sometimes called Macleay's Swallowtail). I guess this leaves the only options as being either a misidentification on your part, or that a specimen has been released by movement of a pupa or larva on plant material or pot plants brought down to Tasmania from further north. The release of specimens outside their natural distribution is not all that uncommon - we had a male Cairns Birdwing photographed in a Sydney suburb earlier in the year. It probably had escaped from the Darling Harbour Wildlife World complex where they keep live specimens of this species.

daveandnise - 1.12 PM, 27 December 2009
Does anyone know if the range/distribution of the blue triangle butterly extends as far south as SE Tasmania. We have seen what we believe is a blue triangle in our garden over the past couple of days. It is not a Macleay's Swallowtail, the only other butterfly of a similar size, markings and colour that is found in Tasmania. The triangle we have seen is not a swallowtail and was black and turquoise blue, not black and pea green.

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