The Blue Moon Butterfly
The Common Eggfly Butterfly (Hypolimnas bolina) is also known as the Varied Eggfly Butterfly and the Great Eggfly. Here at Ausemade, we certainly like the New Zealand name for it, as they call them the Blue Moon Butterflies. This species of the family Nymphalidae are found from Madagascar through Asia and Australia.
Hypolimnas bolina is a black-bodied butterfly species with a high degree of sexual dimorphism. Sexual dimorphism describes the differences in appearance between the males and females of the same species. It can be about colour, shape, size, and structure that is beyond the differences in their sexual organs.
One of Australia’s most distinctive butterflies, it is the female of the species that is mimetic with multiple morphs, which describes the variation in the colours and patterns, that makes the female butterfly of the species very variable.
The following female is thought to be the subspecies Hypolimnas bolina nerina, found in eastern Victoria up through Central to Northern Australia, Timor, parts of Indonesia, Solomon Islands and New Zealand. These photos were taken in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.
They get their common name from the egg-shaped patches on the wings of the male butterfly. The male of the species have a strong territory habit, often aggressively chasing away any butterfly that flies into its territory, then returning back to the same spot. They have been know to stay at the same spots for days.
The female of the species is known for their maternal care, with the females guarding the leaves where they have laid their eggs.
The male and female Common Eggfly Butterflies are different in coloration. The male of the Common Eggfly Butterfly is black in colour with three pairs of white spots that are surrounded with a luminous blue sometimes purple colour, on the upper part of the wings.
The female upperside of the wings are shades of brown, black and white. The photo above shows the female with reddish/brown patches. They do not have any spots like those of the male. The following images is of the same female butterfly, but with the wings closed.
The following is the male of the species.
The caterpillars are black in colour with orange-yellow branch-spines.
- Scientific classification
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Lepidoptera
- Family: Nymphalidae
- Genus: Hypolimnas
- Species: H. bolina
there are a number of sub-species found around the world including the following two that are also found in Australia
— H. b. bolina
— H. b. nerina
- Binomial name: Hypolimnas bolina
Checkout our blog on the Faces of the Blue Moon…
Footnote & References
- The Common Eggfly Butterfly: 10 Incredible Facts, 24 October 2019, Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, www.australianbutterflies.com/the-common-eggfly-butterfly-10-incredible-facts/
- Common and Blue-banded Eggfly butterflies, Malcolm Tattersall, Green Path, www.malcolmtattersall.com.au/wp/2014/04/eggfly-butterflies/
- Common Eggfly Butterfly – Hypolimnas bolina, Brisbane Insects and Spiders, www.brisbaneinsects.com/brisbane_nymphs/CommonEggfly.htm
- Life Cycle Varied Eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina nerina), Bobs Butterflies, www.bobsbutterflies.com.au/view_lifecycle.php?s=Hypolimnas bolina nerina
- Hypolimnas bolina – Blue Moon or Varied Eggfly, Australian Caterpillars and their Butterflies and Moths, www.lepidoptera.butterflyhouse.com.au/nymp/bolina.html