The Great Eggfly, Hypolimnas bolina

Great Eggfly

The Great Eggfly provides an example of sexual dimorphism, meaning that the males and females look different. The dorsal wing surface of males is black with three pairs (two on the forewings, one on the hindwings) of white spots surrounded by iridescent blue/purple. The colour can appear to change because of the way the scales on the wing are angled to reflect light. The ventral wing surface is black edged with white spots, with a diagonal white band running across both wings.

The dorsal wing surface of females is paler and edged with white spots, and on each forewing is a blue patch. The underside is similar to the male, but brown. In nature, female colouration varies widely. The wingspan is 8 cm and 9 cm for males and females, respectively.

The Great Eggfly is native to Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Australia. It is a relatively common butterfly and can be found in deciduous forests and lightly wooded countryside. Males are territorial and females will guard their eggs from predators. The caterpillars are black with and orange head and covered in branched orange spikes. Caterpillars feed at night on a variety of plants.

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