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Red Spotted Jezebel

Delias aganippe


These butterflies are migrating through Victoria at present, on their way from Northern Victoria & SA down to the Mornington Peninsula. They deposit their clutches of eggs on the way, including in our garden at St Arnaud. This year they have laid their eggs on the wrong host plant again (olive tree) - see pic 2, as well as on the correct one (quandong). We have loads of mistletoe around here, another host plant, but they seem to prefer the wire mistletoe, which we don't have at present. We will be rearing the eggs which were laid on the wrong host plant, there are several hundred of them in multiple clusters. These butterflies are also commonly known as 'Wood White', however the rest of the delias genus are commonly known as 'Jezebels', so we prefer to stick with the 'Red Spotted Jezebel'.

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Pradeep Kumar
Pradeep Kumar 7 years ago


Jean-Ellen-Reid 7 years ago

Thanks Ashley, that's really fab!

AshleyT 7 years ago

Welcome to Project Noah Jean-Ellen-Reid, and congratulations on this spotting being selected as Spotting of the Day!



staccyh 7 years ago

Great photo series!

LaurenZarate 7 years ago

Its so nice to see a series of pictures of the whole life cycle, great job.

triggsturner 7 years ago

Great first spotting Jean-Ellen-Reid. Wonderful story too. Thanks for sharing it.

DanielePralong 7 years ago

Welcome to Project Noah Jean-Ellen-Reid, and thank you for a wonderfully documented first spotting full of information.

Jean-Ellen-Reid 7 years ago

The correct host plant was available nearby, so don't know why they are laying on the wrong plant. Fortunately they're not classified as being at risk for the time being. The majority of egg clusters we've found have been laid on the correct plants.

SukanyaDatta 7 years ago

It is so nice to know that ...although Mom laid eggs on the wrong plant...the caterpillars will not die...thanks to you. As a child I was once witness to caterpillars hatching out of the cluster of eggs laid on the wall of a 3rd floor apartment...and then dying of starvation.I have often wondered since then... if it was just a poor moth/butterfly trapped in an urban jungle with NO OPTIONS...but in this case, it does seem as if the butterflies make mistakes...costly ones!
Thank you, once again.

Jean-Ellen-Reid 7 years ago

Thanks Felix & Hema - we appreciate the comments!

Felix Fleck
Felix Fleck 7 years ago

Great work, Jean!

Hema  Shah
Hema Shah 7 years ago

It is a delightful and fulfilling experience indeed! Caterpillars taking turns, sounds very cute!

Jean-Ellen-Reid 7 years ago

We rear them on quandong, which is a very slow growing parasitic tree. We've just propagated some wire mistletoe which is much faster growing, to give the quandong a break. The wire mistletoe will take another year to grow adequately. The jezebel caterpillars are gregarious, so they feed in groups, taking turns to munch in groups at the end of the leaves. I'll upload a photo so you can see.

Hema  Shah
Hema Shah 7 years ago

BTW ,beautiful series.Thanks for sharing!

Hema  Shah
Hema Shah 7 years ago

Thanks so much Jean, for your noble work.So how do you rear them?

Jean-Ellen-Reid 7 years ago

We have been rearing the Jezebels for a few years now, as they don't survive on the olive. They are released back into the garden, so they can finish their migration to the seaside for summer (lucky things...). We have talked to Australia's leading lepidopterists about this issue, but no-one has any answers.

Felix Fleck
Felix Fleck 7 years ago

Beautiful pictures.

Hema  Shah
Hema Shah 7 years ago

May be a butterfly expert can help you if you could do something about the eggs. Do you think that hand rearing them with leaves from the correct host plant might save these?

Spotted by

Victoria, Australia

Spotted on Sep 3, 2016
Submitted on Sep 3, 2016

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