Caper White ButterflyCaper White Butterfly & Caper Bush Caper White Caterpillar and Instar Eggs of the Caper White Butterfly Caper White Butterfly Metamorphosis

The favoured food plant of the Caper White Butterfly (sub-species Belenois java teutonia) belong to the native caper plants genus Capparis. In Central Australia the Caper White can often be found fluttering around the Wild Passionfruit (Capparis spinosa var. nummularia).

Seen feeding on the nectar from the flowers of the caper bush, the Caper White Butterfly also lay their eggs on the caper bush for the next generation of caterpillars to butterflies.

You can see the Caper White Butterfly (Belenois java teutonia) laying their eggs on the Caper Bush (Capparis spinosa var. nummularia) in the following series of images.

Caper White Butterfly (Belenois java teutonia) laying their eggs on the Caper Bush (Capparis spinosa var. nummularia)
Caper White Butterfly (Belenois java teutonia) laying their eggs, Alice Springs, NT

When the eggs hatch, the caterpillars eat and grow, going through a number of instar stages, as they grow. They shed their skin (moult) between each instar stage.

During these stages, if there is a lot of caterpillars, they will often strip the shrub bare of leaves. Usually the native caper bush will survive this process.

Instar stage of the caterpillar of the Caper White Butterfly (Belenois java teutonia), Alice Springs, NT
Instar stage of the caterpillar of the Caper White Butterfly (Belenois java teutonia)

In the following images you can see some of the empty pupal cases left behind after the butterflies emerge.

Empty instar cases of the Belenois java teutonia
Empty pupal cases of the Belenois java teutonia

The caterpillar of the Caper White Butterfly eat only plants that are in the caper family (Capparis spp). In these images from Central Australia, you can see that the caterpillars have just about stripped the Wild Passionfruit (Capparis spinosa var. nummularia) of its leaves. In most cases, the plant will recover.

Our Flora section has information on the Wild Passionfruit (Capparis spinosa var. nummularia), as well as selection of images in other sections of our sites such as those in the Olive Pink Botanic Garden Wild Passionfruit, Alice Springs Desert Park Wild Passionfruit and Wild Passionfruit on Untyeyetwelye • ANZAC Hill.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Lepidoptera
  • Family: Pieridae
  • Genus: Belenois
  • Species: B. java
  • Binomial name: Belenois java
  • Subspecies:
    • B. j. java (Indonesia)
    • B. j. savuana (Savu)
    • B. j. teutonia (Australia)
    • B. j. ina (Indonesia)
    • B. j. peristhene (Melanesia)
    • B. j. picata (Melanesia)
    • B. j. micronesia (Fiji)

Caper White ButterflyCaper White Butterfly & Caper Bush Caper White Caterpillar and Instar Eggs of the Caper White Butterfly Caper White Butterfly Metamorphosis

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