Butterflies of Mount Alexander Shire

Australian Painted Lady, Vanessa kershawi

These web pages document the butterflies that have been recorded in the Mt Alexander Shire. The information is based on work done by butterfly enthusiast and CFNC member, the late Tony Morton. One of the aims of this site is to show images of the butterflies as they appear in the field as this will be what most observers see. Where available the photos are of actual butterflies seen in the Mt Alexander region. You can find out more about butterflies in general by clicking here and read more information about each species by clicking on the butterfly name in the index below.

One of the best ways to identify butterflies is with a photo from the field.  We encourage you to photograph butterflies that you see and post the images on inaturalist where they will contribute to our understanding of the local butterfly fauna.

Family  Hesperiidae

These small butterflies (20-50mm wingspan) are usually orange and/or brown. They have stout bodies and widely spaced antenna. They are low flying with a jerky flight. Most species use grasses and sedges as the larval food.

Barred Skipper, Dispar compacta
Varied Sedge-skipper, Hesperilla donnysa
Greenish Grass-dart, Ocybadistes walkeri
White-banded Grass-dart, Taractrocera papyria
Yellow Ochre, Trapezites luteus
Heath Ochre, Trapezites phogalia

Montane Ochre (male), Trapezites phigalioides

Blues and Coppers
Family  Lycaenidae

Butterflies in this family are generally small (15mm – 50mm wingspan) with either blue or copper iridescent wing markings. The hindwing of some species has a short tail. Many members of this group have a symbiotic association with ants who tend the larvae in return for a milky exudate which they feed on. Unlike other butterfly groups markings on the under wing are often critical for field identification.

Rayed Blue, Candalides heathi
Varied Dusky Blue, Candalides hyacinthina
Moonlight Jewel, Hypochrysops delica
Imperial Hairstreak, Jalmenus evagoras
Amethyst Hairstreak, Jalmenus icilius
Long-tailed Pea-blue, Lampides boeticus

Chequered Copper, Lucia limbaria
Two-spotted Line-blue, Nacaduba biocellata
Fringed Heath-Blue, Neolucia agricola
Satin Azure, Ogyris amaryllis
Dull-purple Azure, Ogyris olane
Eltham Copper, Paralucia pyrodiscus lucida

Saltbush Blue, Theclinesthes serpentata
Common Grass-blue, Zizina otis labradus

Browns and Nymphs

Family  Nymphalidae

These butterflies have predominantly brown orange markings. They are medium size, ranging 30mm to 90mm wingspan. These are some of the commonest butterflies of temperate woodlands.

Tailed Emperor, Charaxes sempronius
Lesser Wanderer, Danaus chrysipippus petilia
Monarch Wanderer, Danaus plexippus
Common Crow, Euploea corinna
Ringed Xenica, Geitoneura acantha
Marbled Xenica, Geitoneura klugii

Common Brown, Heteronympha merope
Shouldered brown, Heteronympha penelope
Meadow Argus, Junonia villida
Yellow Admiral, Vanessa itea
Australian Painted Lady, Vanessa kershawi

Family  Papilionidae

These are large bright coloured butterflies with a wingspans often greater than 100mm.  Some species have characteristic ‘tails’ on their hind wings. This is the smallest family of butterflies in Victoria.

Orchard Swallowtail, Papilio aegeus
Dainty Swallowtail, Papilio anactus
Chequered Swallowtail, Papilio demoleus

Whites and Yellows
Family  Pieridae

These are medium sized butterflies usually around 50mm wingspan but may range from 25mm – 70mm.  The dominant colour is either white or yellow, often with black markings

Caper White (male), Belenois java
Red-spotted Jezebel, Delias aganippe
Imperial Jezebel, Delias harpalyce
Small Grass-yellow, Eurema smilax
Cabbage White, Pieris rapae

Photo Credits

Yellow Ochre – Albert Wright
Eltham Copper – Hans van Gemert
Common Grass-blue – Noel Young
Monarch Wanderer – Noel Young
Common Crow – Noel Young
Meadow Argus  – Geraldine Harris
Swallowtail Dingy  – Noel Young
Red-spotted Jezebel  – Albert Wright
Cabbage White  – Noel Young
Tailed Emperor – Linda Rogan/iNaturalist

Other photos by Euan Moore. All photos used with permission of the photographer and remain copyright of the photographer. Please contact CFNC for further information.