Page 1


Butterflies of the Moreton Bay Region


We will encourage more butterflies (and other native wildlife) into our gardens if we plant local native plants and reduce or avoid pesticides. Butterflies are among the most delightful and interesting of animals. Every garden no matter how small is visited by butterflies from time to time. The Moreton Bay Region (and its surrounds) is home to a great variety of butterflies. Courtyard & balcony gardens, small backyards, and bushland blocks can all supply food for butterflies. This booklet provides information about butterfly caterpillar food plants as well as nectar rich plants for adult butterflies.

Did you know? Council’s Environmental Services Department can provide you with a list of native plant species especially suited to your property’s location and geology. Environmental Officers can also offer advice about property management, plant and animal identification, revegetation, weed control and wildlife conservation.



The butterfly garden

Butterflies and other insects

Every garden will have many butterfly species flying, feeding and completing their life cycles (eggs, larvae, pupae and adults), if we supply the needs of larvae and adults. To ensure this, gardens can be designed to provide foliage and plant material for caterpillars, and a good range of nectar rich flowers throughout the year.

Butterflies are invertebrates (animals without backbones) and belong to Class Insecta. Insects, like all arthropods, have segmented bodies and paired, jointed legs. Instead of an internal skeleton, insects have a hard outer covering (exoskeleton). Insects, typically, in the adult form, possess three major body parts (head, thorax and abdomen) and most have three pairs of walking legs.

By providing food and habitat for caterpillars and adult butterflies we are also supplying resources for many other native animals. Local native plants (those species that naturally occur in our region) are the best choice for creating a butterfly friendly garden. See page 15 for plant species information.

Abdomen Proboscis

Wings covered in coloured scales

This garden at Mt Glorious was designed for butterflies. It now provides food and habitat for many other native animals including insects, lizards, frogs, birds and possums.


Image: T. Bailey



Butterflies and moths

Moths and butterflies are pollinators active at different times of the day and night.

Butterflies and moths are grouped into the Order Lepidoptera and differ from other insects. For example, the adult typically has much-reduced mouth parts except for those parts associated with and forming the proboscis – a coiled tube used for sucking up water, nectar and other plant juices. The membranous wings are covered on both surfaces with overlapping scales, and are strengthened by veins which also brace them – much like battens do a sail.

We usually think of butterflies as having beautiful colours and moths as being in shades of grey and brown. However, some butterflies are drab in appearance while some moths are exquisitely coloured.

Moths, though closely related to butterflies, differ in several ways. If the antennae (‘feelers’) are not clubbed it is a moth. Some Australian moths have clubbed antennae, but those that do also have a bristle attached near the base of the hind wing that fits under the fore wing. The only Australian butterfly that has this is the male Regent Skipper.


s Image: T. Burrow

Generally, butterflies are day active (diurnal) but some only fly during twilight hours. Moths are usually night-active (nocturnal) but some fly only during the day. Moths are generally nectar feeders – though some may not feed at all during their adult phase.

Joseph’s Coat Moth

DAY (Diurnal) Tailed Emperor


NIGHT-TIME (Nocturnal) Female Erebus terminitincta moth

Image: T. Burrows

Evening Brown

Image: A. Hiller

Image: P. Chew

Evening Brown butterfly

DUSK/DAWN (Crepuscular)


beautiful and day-flying.

well camouflaged on leafy forest floor where it often rests during the day.

Butterflies have excellent colour vision (as do birds and humans). Some butterflies have a preference for some colours over others (e.g. Swallowtails are attracted to red). Many moths, because they fly at night, are attracted to white and yellow flowers, which are more easily seen in darkness. 7

From caterpillar to adult butterfly

Butterfly life cycle (species shown: Orchard Swallowtail)

Like insects of some other groups, butterflies go through four major changes (complete metamorphosis) during their life history – egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis) and adult. The female lays her eggs on plants that she ‘knows’ to be suitable for her larvae to eat (i.e. host plants). As the larva feeds, it grows and sheds its skin (a process called ecdysis). Some larvae, especially those of Birdwing butterflies, consume the freshly shed skin in order not to lose the valuable biochemicals contained within. Freshly hatched larvae of this group also eat the eggshell from which they have hatched.


Larva An early instar

The periods of larval growth in between successive ecdyses are called instars. In butterflies there are typically four instars. The pupa (often called a chrysalis) is a non-feeding stage in which the larval organs are re-organised. After the adult emerges it never grows any larger.

FA - How long do butterflies live? As with most insects their lifespan depends on if and when they are taken by a predator. As a rule, smaller species such as the Lycaenids (Blues) live for around three weeks or so, while larger butterflies such as Birdwings can live for over two months. These estimates are taken from a captivebreeding situation where most predators are excluded. Some species whose larvae feed on toxic plants are able to sequester (store) these toxins in their systems. Unpalatable due to toxicity, they are avoided by predators and may live for many months – some even being able to overwinter. Examples are the Wanderer, Crow, and Blue Tiger butterflies.




The relative length of time of the stages that butterflies progress through varies according to species and environmental conditions such as climatic zone, local weather and season of the year. Some butterflies may have only one brood per year and spend most of their lives in the larval stages. Some may have autumn and spring broods, or, especially in tropical areas, a succession of broods. In cooler areas one or more of the early stages is often much longer than those of the same species in warmer areas.


Display flights and mating

Butterfly larvae

by Anthony Hiller

Butterfly larvae themselves are often particularly beautiful and interesting. Image: P.


Display flights and mating are one of the most interesting facets of butterfly behaviour. The Swallowtail butterflies are particularly spectacular in this respect. Males will fly closely behind the female and wait for her to alight (land). When she does, he will hover over her, getting closer and closer, land beside her, and if she is receptive she will allow him to mate. Usually, this occurs in a sheltered situation to avoid predation. If she is already mated, she may reject him and fly off and he will depart to seek another female.

Evening Brown larvae feed on the foliage of native grasses - Blady Grass and Kangaroo Grass.

Image: A.


Mating may last for an hour or more depending on the species and whether or not the pair is disturbed. Once mating is completed the female will seek a suitable host plant on which to lay her eggs.

Orchard Swallowtail larva showing its red osmeterium – a gland which emits an odoriferous liquid and is displayed when the animal is threatened.

Some butterfly species congregate on hills and ridges.

ew Ch Image: P.

Image: D.


A Glasswing deposits eggs onto host plant

Glasswing larvae feed on the foliage of Spade flower and Corky Passion Vine.

Hilltopping Hilltopping, although not well studied, is the congregation of some butterfly species on the tops of ridges and hills – and a captivating sight to behold. It is thought that this behaviour may maximise the chances of finding a suitable mate. There is still much to discover in this fascinating area of butterfly study.


Wanderer Larva.


Butterfly dispersal

A (comparatively) recent arrival

Once emerged, some butterfly species embark on impressively long journeys – often referred to as migration. In the Moreton Bay Region the Caper White butterfly is one of the most conspicuous. Assisted by the wind, these butterflies can travel hundreds of kilometres to find food trees and mates. During springtime (and often coinciding with hot stormy weather) Caper Whites begin to disperse throughout South-East Qld – some years in very large numbers indeed.

In February 1871 the Brisbane Courier reported that the Monarch butterfly (known commonly here as the Wanderer) had arrived in Australia.

Image: J. Miners

This large butterfly has dispersed widely from its native home in the Americas – ‘hop-scotching’ across the Pacific Islands to reach Australia. Monarchs have also colonised parts of Europe. Monarch larvae feed on certain plants of the ‘milkweed’ family, ASCLEPIADACEAE, including the Red head cotton bush - a common weed (pictured below).

Many Caper Whites

Le Image: G.


Brush Caper Berry – a food source for Caper White, Striated Pearl-white and Southern Pearl-white caterpillars.

Image: A. Hiller


A defoliated host tree – this frenzied feeding process is a natural phenomenon to which the plant is adapted. It will soon recover with a flush of new foliage.



Requirements of butterflies

Growing caterpillars

In general, butterflies need

To encourage butterflies to breed, we may plant suitable native food hosts (local plant species) in our gardens. Some native host plants may be partially or almost totally defoliated by feeding larvae. We need not worry. The plant is adapted to this and will recover; and we will be rewarded with a multitude of newly emerged butterflies.

Suitable food plants for caterpillars

Food for adults

Water for adults

Many local native plant species provide food for butterfly caterpillars.

Suitable larval food plants Caterpillars of particular species will only survive on the leaves of certain host plants. Others will eat more than one species of plant.

Ground covers and herbs

Small Green Banded Blue on Soap Tree, Alphitonia excelsa – its larval food.

Image: M. Fagg

Image: M. Fag


Red Passion Vine Passiflora aurantia – Glasswing larval food.

Image: M. Fagg

Just some butterfly-caterpillar food plants of the region . . .

Image: P. Che w

(caterpillar food)

Black JeZebel caterpillars feeding on mistletoe.


Evidence of caterpillar activity – if no insecticide is used, butterflies will follow.

Spade flower Hybanthus stellarioides Foliage of this delicate herb is a food source for Glasswing larvae. The species often features in eucalypt forests with moist understoreys.

Yellow Buttons Chrysocephalum apiculatum Caterpillars of the Australian Painted Lady feast on the leaves of this common perennial herb. Yellow Buttons is easily cultivated from cuttings or seed and is a fine plant for rockeries and cottage gardens.


Butterfly-caterpillar food plants of the region cont. . .

Love Flower Pseuderanthemum variabile The leaves of this delicate herbaceous perennial provide food for several butterfly caterpillar species including the beautiful Blue-banded Eggfly and Leafwings. The species is commonly found in moist shady eucalypt forests. It looks spectacular as a mass planted understorey.

Lomandra Lomandra hystrix, L. longifolia etc, Lomandra foliage provides food for the larve of some species of Skipper butterflies. The larvae construct ‘shelters’ by joining leaves together to form a tight silklined structure. Lomandra plants are commonly used in landscaping and are especially good for creek bank stabilisation.

Kangaroo Grass Themeda triandra This native grass is gaining popularity as a landscaping species. Kangaroo Grass is a food source for butterfly species including the larvae of the Evening Brown, Common Brown and Orange Ringlet.

Image: A. Hiller

Stinging Nettle, Urtica incisa Caution! A prickly customer, yes, but nettle is a very useful plant for butterfly gardens. Stinging Nettle is a food plant for caterpillars of the Yellow Admiral butterfly. Obviously site selection should favour areas away from paths – preferably towards the rear of garden beds, and shady, moist areas. Appropriate clothing (including gloves) is necessary when working near nettle.

Native grasses

A Yellow Admiral freshly emerged from pupa on stinging nettle.


Pademelon Grasses Oplismenus species. These soft trailing groundcovers are larval food plants for Wonder Brown Butterflies. Oplismenus species are good natives for shadier areas of the garden – and especially useful under trees and between stepping stones. Similar species includes Graceful Grass, Ottochloa gracillima, which is also a caterpillar food plant.



Native Finger Lime Citrus australasica This tall shrub (growing to around 4m) is host for the sweetly named Dainty Swallowtail butterfly. The Native Finger Lime is hardy, slow growing, and produces edible fruit. It is a nice addition to any bush tucker garden.

Forest hop Bush Dodonaea triquetra The Native Hop shrubs grow to about 3m and are ideal for smaller gardens. Caterpillars of the exquisite Fiery Jewel butterfly feed on the foliage of this species.

Image: A. Hiller

Coffee Bush Breynia oblongifolia This spreading shrub to about 2-3 metres tall bears bright red fruit which turns black when ripe. It’s a useful pioneer species and a host plant for the Large Grass-yellow butterfly (see page 33)

Image: M. Fag


Dainty Swallowtail depositing eggs on native citrus

Acacia foliage is eaten by caterpillars of the Imperial Hairstreak, Moonlight Jewel, and others. Acacias are pioneer plants – and often the first to appear after disturbance. They are useful for revegetation projects and attract lots of animals including possums, gliders, and birds. Most grow to 3-5 metres. Some dwarf forms are available.

Green Wattle Acacia irrorata subspecies irrorata


Brisbane Wattle Acacia fimbriata

Dogwood, Jacksonia scoparia Caterpillars of the Fiery Jewel and Copper Pencilled-blue eat the flower buds and flowers of this species. Dogwood grows to around 4m tall, and provides interesting form and colour for a mixed planting.

Native Plum Guilfoylia monostylis Native plum is a small tree (to 6m) with lime green leaves and bearing bright yellow flowers midsummer. Native Plum grows on the edges of rainforest and wet eucalypt forest and is a food for Tailed Emperor caterpillars.


g Image: M. Fag

Trees Sandpaper figs Ficus coronata, F.opposita, F. fraseri grow to about 10–15m if left unpruned. The leaves are food for caterpillars including those of the Common Crow and Purple Moonbeam butterflies. This species attracts loads of wildlife. Although hardy, it excels in moist shady areas – especially along creeks and drainage lines.

Vines and Palms Native Wisteria Callerya megasperma Surely one of our prettiest rainforest vines. This species does best where it can clamber into the canopy of a tall tree. It’s a host plant for Common Pencilled-blue butterfly.

Barbed Wire Vine, Smilax australis This is a tough leaved climber common in our region, and host plant for Fiery Jewels.

Brush Box Lophostemon confertus Brush Box is a handsome, manageable gum tree to 30m – but usually only reaching this height in a forest setting. It is a good shade tree and lovely main feature when given adequate space. Brush Box leaves are eaten by the Coral Jewel and Bronze Flat butterflies. Under-planting with shrubs, grasses, and ground covers will attract many more butterfly species. It’s also a Koala food tree.

Image: M. Fag


Brown Kurrajong Commersonia bartramia Medium sized tree to 20m. Brown Kurrajong is quick growing – making it a popular species for revegetation projects. Its leaves are eaten by caterpillars of the Coral Jewel butterfly. It also attracts Ladybird beetles.

Tuckeroo Cupaniopsis anacardioides A small tree (to 10m) popular with urban landscapers; its dense crown of glossy green leaves provides good shade and requires little maintenance. Foliage and fruit are food for caterpillars including the Common Pencilled-blue and Bright Cornelian butterflies.


Piccabeen Palm Archontophoenix cunninghamiana The leaves of this gorgeous palm tree provide food for larvae of the Orange Palm-dart and Yellow Palm-dart butterflies. These palms grow best in moister environments – and naturally occur in rainforest and wet eucalypt forest.

Monkey Rope, Parsonsia straminea Monkey Rope is one of the many species on which Common Crow butterflies lay their eggs. It’s a widespread woody climber in the Moreton Bay region, and commonly seen growing on eucalypts, melaleucas and she-oaks.


(nectar and plant juices)

Many native plants provide nectar for butterflies Some local plants that feed adult butterflies include . . . Pavetta, Pavetta australienses Pavetta is a gorgeous shrub growing to around 4m and naturally occurring in dry rainforest. Sweet Pavetta nectar is consumed by butterflies and moths.

Bolwarra, Eupomatia laurina Bolwarra is a glossy leaved shrub/small tree to around 6m. Its flower scent is suggestive of sweet sherry and irresistible to many insects including some butterfly species.

Image: J. Bow


Melaleuca spp. (including those formally of the Callistemon genus) Many different species belong to this genus. All produce sweet flowers which attract butterflies.


Macadamia Macadamia trees usually flower in late winter/spring and will attract butterflies and native bees. Flowers of the ‘Home Beauty’ cultivar (M. integrifolia x M. tetraphylla) are pictured here.


Rusty Gum Angophora leiocarpa A tree to 25m, though probably smaller in cultivation, and can be pruned. Its sweet flowers attract loads of wildlife. It’s also a Koala food tree.

Butterflies need water Especially in hot dry weather, butterflies need extra water. We can provide water for butterflies and other wildlife by constructing garden ponds and bog gardens with peripheral ‘sand soaks’. Pond plants with floating leaves cater for butterflies and other insects. Some butterflies will also seek moisture from decaying fruit.

Birdbaths provide water for butterflies. Image: S. Petro

Contact council’s Environmental Services Department for more information about local native plants. Environmental Officers can supply you with a list of plants suitable for your location.

Image: J. Bow

Butterflies feed on nectar from flowers, and other suitable plant juices. If we plant natives that produce large quantities of nectar, we can attract a wide variety of butterflies that would otherwise fly past. Many plants from overseas will also supply this food, but a lot are weeds that invade bushland. For example, Lantana produces lots of flowers and is often suggested as a species to attract butterflies. Lantana species though, are such serious weeds that we should not encourage any of them to grow anywhere. We should replace them with suitable native species.

Crown of Gold Tree Barklya syringifolia This rainforest tree is stunning in flower. Crown of Gold occurs naturally in our region. It may grow to 20m in a rainforest; and around 7m in cultivation. Easily prune managed.

Image: N. Kirby

Food for adults

Here, an aggregation of butterflies sip water from moist sand. It is thought that some species exhibit this behaviour (known as mudpuddling or puddling) in order to take up mineral salts in the water, which in some way are beneficial to the insect. It may be important to the males’ fertilisation process as it is normally only males that are found in this situation. Mud-puddling is most commonly practiced by Papilionid (swallowtails) and Pierid (whites) butterflies, and also Lycaenids (blues).


What to avoid

Some imported plants may also be eaten by butterfly larvae, but it is more environmentally sound to use only native plants. For example, leaves of the imported Camphor Laurel tree are larval food of Blue Triangles, but this tree is one of the most serious environmental weeds; and there are many lovely native laurels and other suitable replacements.

Pesticide chemicals Some exotic plants (including Jacarandas and Dutchman’s Pipe Vine)

Avoiding pesticide chemicals Spraying caterpillars (‘grubs’) with pesticides will diminish butterfly populations. Unfortunately, many of us have been mislead by television and radio gardening shows and the advertisements of chemical companies into believing that any chewed, curled or less than perfect leaf on any plant is unnatural, unsightly and indicates that application of insecticide is necessary.

A Blue Triangle on (local native) Wild Ouince, Guioa semiglauca.

Some imported plants that are closely related to natives, attract and cue female butterflies to lay their eggs, but the larvae die when they eat the leaves. This is how the exotic Dutchman’s Pipe vine kills the caterpillars of our very beautiful and rare Richmond Birdwing butterfly.

There are no chemicals that kill only the ‘bad’ insects.

Egg from an Orchard Swallowtail butterfly on a lemon tree.

If we stop all spraying of our citrus (and other plants in our lawns and gardens) ‘friendly’ insects, spiders and other animals such as birds, lizards and marsupials will help to keep unwanted insects under control.

Chewed leaves of Hairy Birds Eye, Alectryon tomentosus.


Image: T. Burrows

Most butterfly caterpillars eat plant leaves. For example, Orchard Swallowtail butterflies and many of their family eat the leaves of citrus plants. If we spray the caterpillars (along with other ‘pests’) no citrus butterflies will result.

Dutchman’s Pipe – an exotic that kills the larvae of the rare Richmond Birdwing.

Image: T. Bailey

Some plants to avoid

The rare Richmond Birdwing butterfly.



Richmond Birdwing Vine Pararistolochia praevenosa A rainforest vine and host for the Richmond Birdwing. Best planted in groups of three or more i.e. plant several vines in close proximity – somewhere where they can climb in among the canopy of local native trees.


Image: K. Hiller

Butterfly predators by Anthony Hiller

Many insects are food for predators, and butterflies are no exception.

Richmond Birdwing Vine Flower.

Mammals and birds

Obvious butterfly predators are birds – especially those that feed on the wing (catch their food while flying). Swallows have been observed taking Caper White butterflies and many smaller species fall prey to birds such as Fantails and Yellow Robins. Species of insectivorous birds also search foliage for larvae and eggs.

Some plants to avoid continued...

Some small mammals, notably the carnivorous marsupial mice Antechinus species, also feed on larvae and pupae.

Spiders, wasps and flies

Jacaranda mimosa is poisonous to Tailed Emperor caterpillars.

The parasites of the early stages of butterflies are many and include Chalcid wasps that pierce the shell of the pupa with a sharp egg-laying tube (ovipositor) and lay their own eggs inside. The hatchling wasp larvae feed on the contents of the pupa, and emerge as adult wasps. Image: A. Hiller

Chalcid wasp parasitising butterfly pupa.

Tailed Emperor caterpillar

Image: T. Burrows

Image: P. Chew

Caterpillars of the Tailed Emperor butterfly are poisoned fatally after ingesting the foliage from Jacaranda trees.

Image: M. Fagg

Tailed Emperor adult butterfly


Lacebark Tree Brachychiton discolour A local beauty, Lacebark is an excellent replacement for Jacaranda. It attracts local wildlife.

Many wasps take butterfly larvae to provision their own brood cells and feed their own larvae. Tiny species of parasitic wasps even pierce butterfly eggs with the same result.

Tachinid flies glue their eggs to the skins of butterfly larvae. Upon hatching, the fly larvae burrow through the larval skin and consume the contents, leaving the vital organs until last to ensure an ongoing fresh food supply. Other parasitic flies lay their eggs on the larval host plant which are then consumed by the butterfly larvae with the same result.


Image: A. Hiller

Spiders, too, are serious butterfly predators, taking butterflies which are snared in their webs.

Males and females of some butterflies differ. This is termed sexual dimorphism. Image: T. Burrows

The Flower Spider lies in ambush waiting for unwary butterflies to visit the flower.

Clearwing Swallowtails


FA - Why are there fewer butterflies now than when I was a child? Firstly, children are often more observant and have more time to take in their surroundings than do adults. Unfortunately, our current regimes of insecticide spray use in the garden as well as environmental degradation and native vegetation clearing is having a negative effect on butterfly populations.

FA - Do butterflies die if the coloured ‘dust’ is rubbed from their wings? Butterfly wings are covered in tiny pigmented scales, much like miniature tiles on a roof. Each one overlaps others and they are fastened by one end only. If these are rubbed, they will come away from the wing, leaving colour on the fingers, and a clear patch on the wing. This does not kill the butterfly, but may interfere with mate selection as the pattern would be altered. It will also reduce the insect’s ability to repel water.

Image: P. Chew

Many butterfly species lay over 200 eggs per female. It has been stated that were it not for all these predators and parasites, we would not be able to breathe for the amount of butterflies occupying the air.


Image: T. Bailey

Image: J. Miners


Varied Eggfly




Butterfly family groups

Some butterflies are more beautiful under the wings than above.

(Images not true to life-size)

Image: A. Hiller

Image: P. Chew

Skippers etc

Yellow Albatross

Regent Skipper

A Skipper

Scarlet JeZebel

Image: P. Chew

Image: P. Chew

Image: T. Burrows

Image: T. Burrows


Four-Barred Swordtail

Chequered Swallowtail



Butterfly family groups

Butterfly family groups

Image: T. Bailey

Whites and Yellows

Macleay’s Swallowtail

Black JeZebel

Image: T. Bailey

Image: T. Bailey

Blue Triangle

Yellow-spotted JeZebel

Image: P. Chew


Image: D. Cook Photography

(Images not true to life-size)

Image: A. Hiller

(Images not true to life-size)

Yellow Albatross

Richmond Birdwing (Male)

Image: A. Hiller

Caper White

Clear-Wing Swallowtail (Male)


Large Grass-yellow (male) - Wet season form


Butterfly family groups

Butterfly family groups

(Images not true to life-size)

(Images not true to life-size)

Image: T. Bailey

Image: A. Hiller

Nymphs etc

Image: S. Petro

Nymphs etc

White-banded Plane

Australian Painted Lady

Image: T. Burrows

Image: P. Chew

Blue Tiger

Purple Crow

Common Brown Ringlet


Image: T. Burrows

Lesser Wanderer

Image: P. Chew

Common Brown

Image: T. Burrows

Swamp Tiger

Yellow Admiral

Tailed Emperor


Butterfly family groups

Butterfly family groups

(Images not true to life-size)

(Images not true to life-size)

Image: T. Bailey

Image: T. Burrows

Blues, Coppers, etc

Nymphs etc

Imperial Hairstreak

Image: T. Burrows

Image: T. Burrows

Meadow Argus

Image: A. Hiller

Image: T. Burrows

Small Green-banded Blue


Australian Leafwing


Common Pencil Blue (Female)


Some butterflies of the Moreton Bay Region and food sources for their caterpillars Common Name

Scientific Name

* introduced + = suitable for small gardens

Native Plants for Caterpillars

Family Hesperiidae (Skippers, Awls, Flats) Badamia exclamationis

Pongamia pinnata

Orange Palm-dart

Cephrenes augiades

Piccabeen Palm, Archontophoenix cunninghamiana; +Walking Stick Palm, Linospadix monostachya; Cabbage Tree Palm, Livistona australis

Regent Skipper

Euschemon rafflesia

+Tetra Beech, Wilkiea huegeliana; +Large-leaf Wilkiea, W. macrophylla

Green Awl

Hasora discolor

Burny Bean, Mucana gigantea; Macaranga, Macaranga tanarius

Large Banded Awl

Hasora khoda

Native Wisteria, Callerya megasperma

Netrocoryne repanda

Brush Box, Lophostemon confertus; Corkwood, Endiandra sieberi; Kurrajong, Brachychiton populneus; Flintwood, Scolopia braunii; Wild Quince, Alectryon subcinereus; +Mock Olive, Notelaea longifolia; +Blueberry Ash, Elaeocarpus reticulartus; Native Laurels, Cryptocarya spp; +White Bolly Gum, Neolitsea dealbata; Brown Bolly Gum, Litsea leefeana

Narrow-winged Awl

Bronze Flat

Family Lycaenidae (Blues and Coppers)


Common Pencilled-blue

Candalides absimilis

Tuckeroos, Cupaniopsis spp; Black Bean, Castanospermum australe; Native Wisteria, Callerya megasperma; +Coast Bird’s Eye, Alectryon coriaceus; Scrub Whitewood, Atalaya salicifolia; Blunt-leaf Tulip, Harpullia hillii; Supplejack, Flagellaria indica; Macadamia; Flame Tree, Brachychiton acerifolium; Kurrajong, B. populneus;

Copper Pencilled-blue

Candalides cyprotus

+Dogwood, Jacksonia scoparia; Devils Rice, Conospermum taxifolium;

Varied Dusky Blue

Candalides hyacinthina

+Dodder Laurels, Cassytha pubescens; C. filiformis

Speckled Line-blue

Catopyrops florinda

Peach Leaf, Trema tomentosa; Caesalpinia bonduc; Tulipwood, Harpullia pendula; +Native Mulberry, Pipturus argenteus

Small Green-banded Blue

Psychonotis caelius

Soap Tree/Red Ash, Alphitonia excelsa; Pink Ash, A. petrei

Hairy Line-blue

Erysichton lineata

Tuckeroo, Cupaniopsis anacardioides; +Coast Bird’s Eye, Alectryon coriaceus; Koda, Ehretia acuminata; Macadamia, Macadamia integrifolia; Blue Lilly Pilly, Syzygium oleosum

Copper Jewel

Hypochrysops apelles

Soap Tree, Alphitonia excelsa; Red Mangrove, Rhizophora stylosa; Orange Mangrove, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza; Yellow Mangrove, Ceriops tagal; Grey Mangrove, Avicennia marina; Grey Ironbark, Eucalyptus siderophloia

Fiery Jewel

Hypochrysops ignita

+Dogwood, Jacksonia scoparia; Soap Tree, Alphitonia excelsa; Tuckeroo, Cupaniopsis anacardioides; Hard Quandong, Elaeocarpus obovatus; +Hop Bushes, Dodonaea triquetra & D. viscosa; +Native Daphne, Brachyloma daphnoides; Hickory Wattle, Acacia disparrima; +Barbwire Vine, Smilax australis; +Lolly Bush, Clerodendrum floribundum; Native Cherries, Exocarpus cupressiformis & E. latifolius; Swamp Box, Lophostemon suaveolens

Imperial Hairstreak

Jalmenus evagoras

Mistletoe, Amyema pendula; Wattles e.g. Blackwood, Acacia melanoxylon; Blue Skin Wattle, A. irrorata; Brisbane Wattle, A. fimbriata; +Sickle-leaf Wattle, A. falcata

Large Purple Line-blue

Nacaduba berenice

Tuckeroo, Cupaniopsis anacardioides; +Coast Bird’s Eye, Alectryon coriaceus; Macadamias, M. integrifolia & M. tetraphylla; Rose Tamarind, Arytera divaricata; Scrub Whitewood, Atalaya salicifolia; Native Elm, Aphananthe philippinensis

Common Moonbeam

Philiris innotatus

Sandpaper Figs, Ficus coronata; F. opposita

Felder’s Lineblue

Prosotus felder

Wattles e.g. Early Black Wattle, Acacia leiocalyx, +Mountain Hickory, A. penninervis; +Dune Wattle, A. sophorae; +Coast Bird’s Eye, Alectryon coriaceus; Tuckeroo, Cupaniopsis anacardioides; Macadamia, Macadamia integrifolia

Zebra Blue

Leptotes plinius

+Plumbago, Plumbago zeylanica

Glistening Blue

Sahulana scintillata

Tuckeroo, Cupaniopsis anacardioides; +Coast Bird’s Eye, Alectryon coriaceus; Early Black Wattle, Acacia leiocalyx

Common Grass-blue

Zizina labradus

+Emu Foot, Cullen tenax; +Native Indigo, Indigophera australis; +Twining Glycine, Glycine clandestina; +Wooly Glycine, G. tomentella +Desmodium nemorosum, +D.rhytidophyllum; False Sarsparilla, Hardenbergia violacea


* introduced + = suitable for small gardens

Common Name

Scientific Name

Native Plants for Caterpillars

Family Papilionidae (Swallowtails) Protographium leosthenes

Zigzag Vine, Melodorum leichhardtii

Graphium macleayanus

Socketwood, Daphnandra species; Rib-fruit Pepperberry, Cryptocarya hypospodia; Pigeonberry Ash, C. erythroxylon; Brown Laurel, C. triplinervis; Hairy Walnut, Endiandra pubens; Rose Walnut, E. discolor

Blue Triangle

Graphium sarpedon

Camphorwood, Cinnamomum oliveri; Blush Walnut, Beilschmiedia obtusifolia; Brown Laurel, Cryptocarya triplinervis; Rib-fruit Pepperberry, C. hypospodia; Murrogun, C. microneura; Bolly Gum, Litsea reticulata; Brown Bolly Gum, L. leefeana; Scrub Wilga, Geijera salicifolia; +White Bolly Gum, Neolitsea dealbata; +Lolly Bushes, Clerodendrum floribundum & C. tomentosum

Pale Triangle

Graphium eurypylus

Zigzag Vine, Melodorum leichhardtii; Canary Beech, Polyalthia nitidissima; Native Tamarind, Diploglottis australis

Clear-wing Swallowtail

Cressida cressida

+Native pipe vines, Pararistolochia sp. aff. pubera, Pararistolochia laheyana, +P. praevenosa

Richmond Birdwing

Ornithoptera richmondia

+Native pipe vines, Pararistolochia praevenosa, P. laheyana & P. sp. aff. pubera

Dainty Swallowtail

Papilio anactus

+Native Lime, Citrus australis; +Finger Lime C. australasica

Orchard Swallowtail

Papilio aegeus

+Native Lime, - Citrus australis; +Finger Lime, - C. australasica; +Sandfly Zieria - Zieria smithii; Crow’s Ash, Flindersia australis; Bennett’s Ash, F. bennettiana; Leopard Ash, F. collina; Bumpy Ash, F. schottiana; Scrub Wilga, Geijera salicifolia; Thorny Yellowwood, Zanthoxylum brachyacanthum; Saffron Heart, Halfordia kendack; Silver Sycamore, Cryptocarya glaucescens; +Long Leaf Wax Flower, Philotheca myoporoides

Chequered Swallowtail

Papilio demoleus

Emu’s Foot, Cullen tenax; Native Lime, Citrus australis

Common Name

Scientific Name

Native Plants for Caterpillars

Four-barred Swordtail Macleay’s Swallowtail

Family Pieridae (Whites and Yellows)


Lemon Migrant

Catopsilia pomona

Cigar Cassia, Cassia brewsteri; Cassia tomentella; Striped-pod Cassia, Senna pleuracarpa; S. coronilloides; S. marksiana

Large Grass-yellow

Eurema hecabe

+Native Coffee bush, Breynia oblongifolia; +Sesbania Pea, Sesbania canabinna, Senna coronilloides; Maiden’s Wattle, Acacia maidenii; +Native Indigo, Indigophora australis

Small Grass-yellow

Eurema smilax

+Native Coffee bush, Breynia oblongifolia; +Sesbania canabina; Senna coronilloides; Senna surrattensis; Wattles e.g. Maiden’s Wattle, Acacia maidenii

Spotted Jezebel

Delias aganippe

+Native Cherry, Exocarpos cupressiformis; +Mistletoe, Amyema spp.

Scarlet Jezebel

Delias argenthona

+Mistletoes, Amyema, Muellerina & Dendrophthoe spp.

Black Jezebel

Delias nigrina

+Mistletoes, Amyema, Muellerina & Dendrophthe spp.

Yellow-spotted Jezebel

Delias nysa

+Mistletoes, Korthalsella spp., Amyema spp

Caper White

Belenois java

+Brush Caper Berry, Capparis arborea; Tree Caper, C. mitchellii; +Scrambling Caper, C. sarmentosa

Caper Gull

Cepora perimale

+Native capers, e.g. Capparis mitchellii

Yellow Albatross

Appias paulina

Yellow Tulip, Drypetes deplanchei; +Capparis spp.


* introduced + = suitable for small gardens

Common Name

Scientific Name

Native Plants for Caterpillars

Family Nymphalidae (Danaids, Crows, Browns, Nymphs)


Swamp Tiger

Danaus affinis

+‘Peanut Vine’, Cynanchum carnosum

Lesser Wanderer

Danaus chrysippus

+‘Peanut Vine’, Cynanchum carnosum

Blue Tiger

Tirumala hamata

Corky Milk Vine, Secamone elliptica; +‘Peanut Vine’, Cynanchum carnosum


Danaus plexippus

Introduced, *Balloon Cotton Bush, Gomphocarpus physocarpus and *Red Cotton Bush, Asclepias curassavica

Common Crow

Euploea core

Rock Fig, Ficus rubiginosa; Small-leaf Fig, F. obliqua; White Fig F. virens; +Wax Flower, Hoya australis; Corky Milk Vine, Secamone elliptica; + ‘Peanut Vine’, Cynanchum carnosum; Monkey Rope, Parsonsia straminea; Gargaloo, P. eucalyptophylla; Common Milk Vine, Marsdenia rostrata; +Current Bush, Carissa ovata

Purple Crow

Euploea tulliolus

Burny Vine, Trophis scandens

Evening Brown

Melanitis leda

+Blady Grass, Imperata cylindrica; Kangaroo Grass, Themeda triandra

Common Brown Ringlet

Hypocysta metirius

+*Green Couch, Cynodon dactylon; +Blady Grass, Imperata cylindrica; +Kangaroo Grass, Themeda triandra; Swamp Rice Grass, Leersia hexandra; Gahnia clarkei

Ringed Xenica

Geitoneura acantha

+Kangaroo Grass, Themeda triandra; +Rice Meadow Grass, Microlaena stipoides

Common Brown

Heteronympha merope

+Kangaroo Grass, Themeda triandra; +*Green Couch, Cynodon dactylon; +Rice Meadow Grass, Microlaena stipoides

Dusky Knight

Ypthima arctoa

+Blady Grass, Imperata cylindrica

Tailed Emperor

Polyura pyrrhus

Native Elm, Aphanantha philippinensis; Investigator Tree, Celtis paniculata; Flame Tree, Brachychiton acerifolium; Kurrajong, B. populneus; Lace Bark, B. discolor; Native Plum, Guilfoylia monostylis; Wattles, e.g. Qld Wattle, Acacia podalyriifolia; Maiden’s Wattle, A. maidenii; +Snow Wood, Pararchidendron pruinosum

White-banded Plane

Phaedyma shepherdi

Burny Bean, Mucana gigantea; Native Elm, Aphananthe philippinensis; Investigator Tree, Celtis paniculata; Flame Tree, Brachychiton acerifolium; Koda, Ehretia acuminata; Flame Tree, Brachychiton acerifolium; Kurrajong, B. populneus; Lace Bark, B. discolor

Laced Fritillary

Argyreus hyperbius

+Purple Violet, Viola betonicifolia

Jezebel Nymph

Mynes geoffroyi

Stinging Trees, Dendrocnide moroides, D. photinophylla; +Native Mulberry, Pipturis argenteus

Australian Leafwing

Doleschallia bisaltide

+Love Flower, Pseuderanthemum variabile

Varied Eggfly

Hypolimnus bolina

+Joyweed, Alternanthera denticulata; +Love Flower, Pseuderanthemum variabile; +Smart Weed, Persicaria species;

Australian Painted Lady

Vanessa kershawi

+Golden Everlasting, Xerochrysum bracteatum; Yellow Buttons, Chrysocephalum apiculatum

Australian Admiral

Vanessa itea

+Stinging Nettle, Urtica incisa

Meadow Argus

Junonia villida

+Hygrophila angustifolia +Australian Centaury, Centaurium spicatum; +Nutheads, Epaltes australis; +Evolulus alsinoides; +Star Goodenia, Goodenia rotundifolia; +Mountain Primrose, G. grandiflora; +Fairy Fan Flower, Scaevola aemula


Acraea andromacha

+Spade Flower, Hybanthus stellarioides; +Red Passion Flower, Passiflora aurantia; Yellow Passion Flower, P. herbertiana


Where to source local native plants

Image: A. Hiller

Have you seen this butterfly?

Our community nurseries produce plants from provincial seed, that is, seed collected locally in the Moreton Bay Region.

Laced Fritillary

Host food for Laced Fritillary Arrowhea

Viola beto d Violet nicifolia

Image: M. Fa gg

Argyreus hyperbius

Pine Rivers Community Nursery Kumbartcho Sanctuary

The Laced Fritillary (also called Australian Fritillary) is a butterfly with a very localised distribution in our region. It’s one of two species listed as endangered under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act (1992). The other is the Bulloak Jewel, Hypochrysops piceata, from the Western Darling Downs. Most specimens of the Laced Fritillary have been collected from river estuaries or swampy coastal areas at or near sea level. They are restricted to open, swampy, coastal areas where the larval food plant, Viola betonicifolia, grows as a small, insignificant ground herb in association with Lomandra longifolia (Long-leaved Matrush) and grasses, especially the grass Imperata cylindrica (Blady Grass). This habitat is called Melaleuca wetlands, although the larval food plant does not occur in all sub-types of this plant community. Its range has decreased due to habitat loss. Information supplied courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency, Queensland.


15 Bunya Pine Court, Eatons Hill Ph (07) 3264 3953 Open: Tuesday to Friday 9am – 3pm; Saturday and Sunday 8am – 12noon

Redcliffe Botanic Gardens Community Nursery Off street parking located on Henzell Street, Redcliffe Open: Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday Summer hours: 8am - 10am (1 October - 30 April) Winter hours: 8.30am - 10.30am (1 May - 30 September) The nursery is also open by appointment by emailing


Where to source local native plants

Bribie Island Community Nursery 208 First Avenue, Bongaree Ph (07) 3410 0088 Open: Monday to Friday 8am – 11am

Acknowledgements Special thanks to Anthony and Katie Hiller of Mt Glorious Biological Centre for information and images, Photograph contributors: Anthony & Katie Hiller, Bernadette May, Peter Chew, John Bowden, Jenny Miners, Todd Burrows, Tony Bailey, Steven Petro, Nathan Kirby, Glenn Leiper, Deborah Metters, David Cook Photography. Photos taken by M Fagg are © Australian National Botanic Gardens.

Creec Community Nursery This nursery produces local native plants.

CREEC Environment Centre 150 Rowley Road, Burpengary Ph (07) 3888 9285 Open: Monday, Wednesday & Friday 7am – 3pm

Further reading: Butterflies of Australia by Michael F. Braby. Create More Butterflies by Frank Jordan and Helen Schwencke.

Cnr Pettigrew Street and Toovey Street, Caboolture Ph 0404 594 497 Open: Monday to Wednesday 8am -- 2pm


Image: T. Bailey

Friends of Lagoon Creek Community Nursery


Moreton Bay Regional Council offsets the energy and resources used to produce this and other Living With the Environment booklets, brochures, and posters, through a program of revegetation plantings and habitat restoration projects in the Moreton Bay Region.

Sunshine Coast

Bribie Island

Caboolture Somerset Region



Moreton Bay

Port of Brisbane Brisbane


Printed on EcoStar 100% Recycled.

48 Š Moreton Bay Regional Council 2018

North Stradbroke Island


Butterflies are among the most delightful and interesting of animals. Every garden no matter how small is visited by butterflies from time t...


Butterflies are among the most delightful and interesting of animals. Every garden no matter how small is visited by butterflies from time t...