Wanderer Butterfly

Order Lepidoptera

Family Danaidae

Wanderer Butterfly, Monarch Butterfly, Roleystone, Western AustraliaThe Wanderer butterfly or Monarch butterfly is originally from North America and is orange and black in colouring with black stripes and white dots on its wings. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful butterflies in the world. The Wanderer belongs to the Order Lepidoptera and the Family Danaidae. The earliest Australian sighting of the butterfly was in Sydney in 1871.

Wanderer cocoon, Western AustraliaThe female butterfly lays her eggs underneath the Milkwood plant's leaf. It only takes a few days for the eggs to hatch and then another ten days or so to turn into a pupa . The pupa is green in colour and will develop to a stage where you can clearly see the butterfly's wing colours under the transparent pupa skin. A few days later the butterfly emerges. The butterflies feed on flower nectar and during the winter months they migrant to warmer coastal areas. They are known to hang in large clusters from tree branches in the winter months and is known as "over-wintering".

Wanderer caterpillar

Wanderer CaterpillarThe Wanderer caterpillar feeds on the Milkweed plant (which was later introduced to Australia). The Milkweed plant has a toxic sap that the Wanderer Caterpillar loves to eats. The toxins from the sap are stored in the body of the caterpillar for the duration of its lifecycle making both the caterpillar and butterfly poisonous to most of its predators. The brightly coloured striping of yellow, white and black on the body of the caterpillar acts as a warning sign for all would-be predators that it is poisonous and inedible. A predator not heeding the warning usually ends up violently ill. The Viceroy butterfly closely resembles the Wanderer butterfly but isn't poisonous however its similarity to the Wanderer protects it from predators.The Wanderer caterpillar also has two pairs of black feelers, one at the head of the caterpillar and the other at its tail to confuse predators.