The jezebel nymph (Mynes geoffroyi) (family Nymphalidae) is around in large numbers at the moment. Although the common name sounds like overkill, it refers to the species' resemblance to the true jezebel butterflies (Delias), which belong to family Pieridae. (Yes, it's a four-winged version of the tamarind kerfuffle.)
Males of this species patrol rainforest clearings and edges, often stopping at vantage points to survey the neighbourhood. This one had a clear view of the garden.
The jezebel nymph is readily distinguished from the pierid jezebels by the flash of scarlet on the underside of the front wings. In the pierids, red is confined to the underside of the hind wings.
All caterpillars in a cohort feed together and pupate at the same time, so they emerge simultaneously. Their food plants include stinging trees (Dendrocnide) and native mulberry (Pipturus argenteus). I am more than happy for them to nibble away at the stinging trees, but I wish they'd chew faster. Here's a young one at the side of the house. It has scarcely been touched by herbivorous insects. Poor effort, I say. The arthropods need to lift their game.
If you're interested in stinging tree taxonomy — and who isn't? — this is the Wet Tropics endemic species Dendrocnide cordifolia. In this species, the petiole (leaf stem) is attached to the edge of the leaf (see below). In the more widespread Dendrocnide moroides, the petiole is attached further along the leaf. I recommend using binoculars to check out this feature and a long lens to photograph it!
|Specimen data reproduced from Australia's Virtual Herbarium |
with permission of the Council of Heads
of Australasian Herbaria Inc.