Nymphs and Danaids - FAMILY NYMPHALIDAE

This page contains pictures and information about Nymphs Butterflies (family NYMPHALIDAE) in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.

Two different butterflies in family NYMPHALIDAE 
Caterpillars in this family vary enormously in colour, usually in cylindrical shape. The pupa are simply hanging on plants by the cremaster.
Family NYMPHALIDAE is the largest butterfly family, with sizes that vary from large to small, most are in medium size. They show a great diversity of colour and pattern, although most of them with some brown colour.  One distinct characteristic of this family of butterflies is that males always have four legs, most females have four (a few species Nymphs females have six legs). Their forelegs are reduced.
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All Nymph butterflies are strong and rapid fliers. Most of them are seen flying actively in a sunny day, although some species active during the evening. They rest with wings folded over the back, however, we also find that most of them like to expand their wings facing the sun to warm up their body.

Classification : 

Subfamily SATYRINAE -Browns and Ringlets

Brown and Ringlets Butterflies are usually orange to brown with black in colour, most are with eye-spots. Caterpillars in this subfamily feed on grasses or sedges. They usually have two tails at the end and two horns on the head.


Butterflies in this subfamily are large with two pointed tails to each hindwing. The caterpillars are green in colour with four-horned head.



Subfamily NYMPHALINAE - Nymphs 

Caterpillars in this subfamily usually have branched spines. Butterflies are medium size and fast-flying. They rest with wings open in sunshine. Their forelegs are reduced in both sexes.



Subfamily DANAINAE - Danaids, Milkweed Butterflies

Butterflies in this subfamily are fairly large in size. Most of them are marked with vary shades of brown, black and white. Some are with blue or yellow colours. Caterpillars in this subfamily have 2 or more long dorsal filaments. They are usually banded with bright warning colour usually black, yellow and white.

Here we would like to thank Don Herbison-Evans for his kindly advices on the identity of some caterpillars and adults in our web site. His Australian Caterpillars web site is our major reference.

1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, p897.
2. Insects of Australia and New Zealand - R. J. Tillyard, Angus & Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, 1926, p461.
3. Butterflies of Australia and New Guinea - Barrett, Charles and A. N. Burns, Melbourne, N. H. Seward, 1951, p109.
4. The Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia - Michael F Braby, Australian National University, CSIRO 2004.
5. Australian Tropical Butterflies - by Peter Valentine, photography by Clifford and Dawn Frith, 2nd Printing 1991.
6. Create More Butterflies -  by Frank Jordan and Helen Schwencke, Earthling Enterprises, 2005. 

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Last updated: May 01, 2013.