Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
© David Fischer
Heteronympha comprises of 7 species, all of which are endemic
to Australia. The males of all species are similar in pattern with
orange-brown or pale earthy brown uppersides criss-crossed and
marbled with dark brown markings.
The females of most species are
quite similar to the males but paler and duller in ground colour. An
exception is mirifica in which the
female has broad white bands across the forewings.
Both sexes of all species have
subapical ocelli on the forewings and tornal ocelli on the
hindwings. The undersides are variable, mirroring the upperside
pattern in cordace, paradelpha and penelope but being cryptic and
with only light markings in banksii, merope, mirifica and solandri.
is a widespread species found in New South Wales, Canberra,
Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
inhabits open grassy areas within Eucalyptus
woodland at elevations between about 600-200m.
The eggs are ovoid, shiny, and cream in colour. The female does not
settle to glue her eggs onto anything. Instead she drops them at
random as she flies over grasses. She usually chooses areas close to
trees, bushes or fences, presumably because these areas tend to
escape the attention of grazing animals that would inadvertently
devour the resulting larvae.
The larva lacks
head horns. It can be either green or brown, with dark dorsal and
lateral markings. It feeds at dusk on grasses including
Microlaena, Poa and Themeda
( Poaceae ).
The pupa is plump, round and pale straw in colour mottled with light
brown. It is formed loose on the surface of the ground, often at the
base of trees or bushes.
The flight is
normally slow, but if the butterfly is alarmed it adopts a rapid,
erratic, zigzag flight pattern that serves to confuse insectivorous
The butterflies rest among dead leaf litter, and
thermo-regulate by tilting their wings to maximise or minimise
exposure to the sun, depending on ambient temperatures.