Evening Brown Butterfly

Queensland Museum Collection Imager, Geoff Thompson was picking some grass for guinea pigs when he found a beautiful caterpillar with two prominent horns on its head. He took some phone photos and took it inside, feeding it grass to keep it alive. It was a caterpillar of the Evening Brown Butterfly.

The next day he found a second caterpillar on the floor near the guinea pigs. This joined the first in the jar.

Within five days, both had pupated. One pupa (or chrysalis) went brown and produced a fly pupa on the bottom of the jar, while the second one stayed green. Ten days after pupating the second pupa emerged. The beautiful new butterfly pumped up its wings and hung down letting them harden. He carefully balanced the jar lid on a support outside so the butterfly could hang there freely. After a couple of hours, it flew away.

The next morning there was one perching in a nearby tree and we found a second one in the guinea pig room. Seven days later the fly emerged and now other adult butterflies continue to emerge in the clump of grass.

Evening Brown larva 1 sml
Two views of a caterpillar of the Evening Brown butterfly, Melanitis leda. © Geoff Thompson
Evening Brown larva 2 sml
Caterpillar of the Evening Brown butterfly, Melanitis leda. © Geoff Thompson
Evening Brown pupa and pupating larva, suburban Brisbane, Queensland.
Pupa and  a pupating larva of the Evening Brown butterfly, Melanitis leda. © Geoff Thompson
Suburban Brisbane yard macro
Newly emerged Evening Brown butterflies, Melanitis leda, the one on the left is hanging beside its empty pupal case, waiting for its wings to harden before flight. © Geoff Thompson
Evening Brown Butterfy, Melanitis leda, and its food plant. Suburban Brisbane.
Newly emerged Evening Brown butterflies, Melanitis leda, the one on the left is hanging beside its empty pupal case, waiting for its wings to harden before flight. © Geoff Thompson

 

PS2152
A Queensland Museum specimen of an Evening Brown butterfly, Melanitis leda, showing the eyespot pattern. © Queensland Museum, Geoff Thompson. QMDIU_03081.
Melanitis_leda_29_April_ 053 sml
In centre of this picture, a newly-emerged Evening Brown butterfly can be seen perching in a clump of Guinea Grass, its foodplant. © Geoff Thompson

Ask an expert

If you have a specific question about wildlife around your home submit it via our ‘Ask an Expert page.