From the common brown to the rayed blue – see how many of these winged wonders you can spot around Adelaide.
Spring has sprung, which means it’s time to brush up on your butterfly identification skills as you see them fluttering past.
Here are six butterflies you might find in and around Adelaide:
1. Genoveva azure (Ogyris genoveva)
These striking butterflies are mostly blue on the upper side – although the male could almost be considered purple – and a more marbled-brown underneath. The female butterfly is a significantly lighter blue colour than the male. Genoveva Azures are considered a medium-size butterfly, with a wingspan ranging from 2.5-6 centimetres.
2. Rayed blue (Candalides heathi heathi)
Arguably more purple than blue, there’s a stark difference between the upper side of the butterfly and the under side, which is more beige/pink in colour. That might be hard to spot though, as this butterfly species is less than 2.5 cm wide.
3. Chequered swallowtail (Papilio demoleus sthenelus)
Nature is filled with gorgeous masterpieces and these butterflies really are a piece of natural art. Chequered swallowtails are a mixture of brown, red, beige, white and blue, in an intriguing pattern.
4. Small grass yellow (Eurema smilax)
At just 2.5-6 cm in size, it’s lucky these butterflies are so bright as it gives you a better chance of spotting them. As the name suggests, they are mostly bright yellow, with some black on their upper and under sides.
5. Flame sedge-skipper (Hesperilla idothea clara)
With such a cool name, who wouldn’t want to spot this one? These butterflies, which are mostly brown or orange, can be found from about November to March and their caterpillars eat saw-sedge plants – which might explain their name.
6. Common brown (Heteronympha merope merope)
There’s a good chance you’ve seen this kind of butterfly – they’re everywhere! It’s probably thanks to their ability to eat both native and introduced grasses in their caterpillar stage, which makes them well-adjusted to city living. This gorgeous butterfly looks like it has little eyes painted on its wings. Keep your eyes out for it from November onwards.
These are just a handful of the butterflies you might see this spring – check out the Butterflies of Adelaide identification chart for more.
Butterflies are rather picky about their habitat and require specific native plant species to survive, so if you’d like to see more butterflies in your garden this spring check out our top five tips in the Bringing butterflies back fact sheet.
(All photography courtesy of Roger Grund and Trevor Rowe. Photos are of pinned specimens from the South Australian Museum © Butterfly Conservation Society SA Inc.)
This story was originally posted in October 2016. Extra images have been included to show the differences between males and females of certain species.
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