Australian Leafwing - Doleschallia bisaltide


This page contains information and pictures about Australian Leafwing Butterflies in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.

Wingspan 70mm, female, on host plant 
The Australian Leafwing Butterflies have the bright orange-brown colour on top side of wings with dark brown edges. The wings bottom side patterns mimic dry leaf. They have the white face mimic the flower of the host plant. Sometimes this butterfly may be confused with the Evening Brown
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Female                                                                 Male  
This butterfly is fairy common in Brisbane bushlands. We saw this butterfly first in Daisy Hill Forest during late summer. The butterfly was flying closely on the ground, sometimes rested on leaf for a short time. Usually they fly only a short distance with the rapid fight. They like to rest on ground. Under sunshine they open their wings face towards the sun. They rest with wings closed when there is no sunlight.
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We saw this butterfly once in Brisbane Forest Park near Enoggera Reservoir mid September 2006. It flied away when we came closer. On Jan 2009 in Ford Road Conservation Area, we saw quite a number of them. They were flying non-stop near the forest floor. They only stop for a few seconds if they found the host plants. 
Then we saw this butterfly a few times. All areas were wet eucalypt forest.  


Males and females look a little bit different. Males are brighter in colour with more white dots on bottom side of wings. 
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When rested, the butterfly closed its wings. The wings bottom sides camouflages with dry leaf pattern. The butterfly also has the face face which matches with the flower colour of the host plant, which make them even better camouflaged when laying eggs. 
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When there was the sun shine, it opened its wings to display the rich orange and brown colours. 
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This male Leafwing was found in Ford Road Conservation Area. 
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Males are brighter in colour with more white dots on bottom side of wings. 
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Caterpillars and Pupa

The Caterpillar is black with white spots and red markings. It is covered with black spines. Caterpillar feeds on host plants during the night, hide on ground during the day. 
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Pupa, length 25mm 
Pupa is orange-brown in colours with black line alone the edges. There are some small black dots on the abdomen. 
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The butterfly in the above pupa is matured and we can see the wings markings. 

Host Plants

The larval food plant is Pastel Flower ( Pseuderanthemum variable ), which is a perennial herb with white-pink flowers, dark green leaves purple underside. The leaves are from narrow to oval shapes. This plant can be found in moist shaded areas of eucalypt forest. The Eggfly caterpillars also feed on this plants. The Blue-banded bees also like to visit the flower. 
Pastel Flower, Love Flower
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Pseuderanthemum variable                                                                                                            Laying egg on host plant
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Carefully check the above photo you can see there are quite a number of eggs and small caterpillars feeding on the host plant.  

Reference and Link:
1. Butterflies of Australia and New Guinea - Barrett, Charles and A. N. Burns, Melbourne, N. H. Seward, 1951, p122.
2. Doleschallia bisaltide - Australian Caterpillars, Don Herbison-Evans & Stella Crossley, 2005.
3. Wild Plants of Greater Brisbane -  Queensland Museum, 2003, p200.
4. Create More Butterflies -  by Frank Jordan and Helen Schwencke, Earthling Enterprises, 2005, p27.
5. The Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia - Michael F Braby, Australian National University, CSIRO 2004, p184. 

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Last updated: March 12, 2011.