Glasswing Butterfly - Acraea andromacha


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

Wingspan 50mm
The Glasswing butterfly also commonly called Little Greasy and Small Greasy. Its forewings are almost transparent with a few black spots. Its hind wings are creamy yellow with black spot patterns. We seldom see them in our area (Eight Mile Plains), however they are common in Brisbane bushland. 
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Male and female adults of Glasswing butterflies look similar. Their caterpillars feed on native Passionfruit plants Passiflora aurantia and Corky passionvine Passiflora suberosa
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Glasswing Butterflies gather together in Alexandra Hill hill top all the year round. Even in winter we found quite a number of Glasswings in Alexandra Hill. 
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On the hilltop, we noticed that the Glasswing butterflies have their territorial behaviour. The males like to rest on the branch of dead tree about 2 meters above the ground. When another males come near, he chases them away.
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Males and females look very similar.  
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The butterfly flies in medium speed, usually from 0.5m to 2m above ground. They will stop on low plants for resting from time to time.  
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Glasswing Caterpillar
Females lay eggs in group of about forty on host plants. Caterpillars are orange-brown in colour with black branched spines.  
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Glasswing Pupa
Pupa are orange-brown in colour with brown spots circled with bold black line. They are found on vines of host plants and grass blades.  

The Caterpillar Food Plants

Australia Native Passionfruit - Glasswing Butterfly caterpillar food plant
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Passiflora herbertiana, family Passifloraceae
White Passion Flower
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Passiflora subpeltata, family Passifloraceae 
Wild Passionfruit, Corky Passion Vine
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Passiflora suberosa, family Passifloraceae
Blunt-leaved Passion Vine
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Passiflora aurantia, family Passifloraceae
The Glasswing Butterfly caterpillars feed on different Passion Vine species included the Australia Native Passionfruit and all the Passiflora sp. above. All of them can be found in Brisbane bushlands. 

We found a Glasswing Caterpillar

In mid-summer we found a Glasswing caterpillar in Macgregor bushland.
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Caterpillar, length 30mm  
We found this caterpillar when it was feeding on the passion vine Passiflora. When we found it we did not know it was the Glasswing caterpillar. The caterpillar was pale brown in colour, with an orange head and branched black spines all over its body. Few days later the caterpillar start to turn into pupa. The second pictures above shows the caterpillar selected a spot on the vine, hanging upside down from its crochets and turning into a pupa.
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                                                                                                                                                        Pupa, length 20mm   
The caterpillar took about a whole day to turn into a pupa. In the above pictures notice the molted skin is still attached on the vine. The pupa was creamy white with black lines. There were a pair of orange-yellow dots in black circles on each abdomen segment. From the pupa shape, we guessed it was a butterfly in NYMPHALIDAE family. We were waiting to see what butterfly it would be.
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About ten days later, a butterfly came out from the pupa. To our surprise, it was a Glasswing Butterfly, one of the butterfly that we familiar with. We just never saw their caterpillar before.

1. The Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia - Michael F Braby, Australian National University, CSIRO 2004, p180. 
2. Create More Butterflies -  by Frank Jordan and Helen Schwencke, Earthling Enterprises, 2005, p21.
3. Wild Plants of Greater Brisbane -  Queensland Museum, 2003, p231,342. 

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Last updated: May 01, 2013.