Animal Species:Orchard Butterfly

The Orchard Butterfly is not so popular with citrus farmers because of their caterpillars' fruit diet.

Adult male Orchard Butterfly

R.Jessop © R.Jessop

Standard Common Name

Orchard Butterfly

Identification

Adult Orchard Butterflies are large, black and white butterflies common in Sydney's suburban gardens from October to May. The undersides of their wings have striking colours, which are not always obvious when they fly.

Size range

11 cm

Distribution

The Orchard Butterfly is found in eastern Australia, from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Habitat

The Orchard Butterfly lives in urban areas, forests and woodlands.

Feeding and Diet

The diet of the Orchard Butterfly's larvae includes cultivated citrus trees such as orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit and mandarin. They also feed on a number of native and other introduced plants.

Other behaviours and adaptations

The caterpillars of the Orchard Butterfly have developed ingenious ways of protecting themselves from predators. During the early part of their life cycle they look like fresh bird droppings. As they grow, they develop spines and red tentacles that emit a foul smell.

Males can be territorial and will chase anything black and white that enters their territory - even Magpies.

Classification

Species:
aegeus
Genus:
Papilio
Subfamily:
Papilioninae
Family:
Papilionidae
Superfamily:
Papilionoidea
Order:
Lepidoptera
Class:
Insecta
Subphylum:
Uniramia
Phylum:
Arthopoda
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?


Last Updated:

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