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Remarks on the spatial distribution of some butterflies and diurnal moths (Lepidoptera) in the Top End of the Northern Territory, Australia

Northern Territory Naturalist
Volume 25 (Mar 2014)

Abstract: The geographical distribution is reviewed and/or new spatial data are given for 15 species of butterflies and diurnal moths from the Top End of the Northern Territory. Three species of day-flying moths, the Zodiac Moth (Alcides metaurus) (family Uraniidae), Mimeusemia centralis (Noctuidae) and Euchromia creusa (Arctiidae), are recorded from the Northern Territory for the first time. Two extant locations of the Purple Beak butterfly (Libythea geoffroyi) from Fish River Station and Gregory National Park represent the first confirmed resident breeding populations of this species in the Northern Territory. The Monarch (Danaus plexippus) is recorded for the first time from the Top End and western Gulf Country where a large-scale range expansion occurred during April-May 2013; other records from the Darwin area comprise intentional introductions facilitated by 'butterfly releases'. New records of the Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus) and Northern Argus (Junonia erigone) suggest these species have limited ranges in northern Australia; both are considered to be rare vagrants or immigrants from Indonesia, East Timor, or adjacent islands. The White Migrant (Catopsilia pyranthe) appears to be a rare seasonal migrant to the Darwin area and nearby locations from further inland. The White-banded Line-blue (Nacaduba kurava) is confirmed as occurring in the Darwin area. The Samphire Blue (Theclinesthes sulpitius) and the Glistening Line-blue (Sahulana scintillata) are newly recorded from the western Gulf of Carpentaria and Gove Peninsula, respectively, extending their distribution considerably further east in the Top End. In contrast, the Plumbago Blue (Leptotes plinius) is considered to be erroneous, and accordingly this species is removed from the lepidopteran inventory for the Top End. The Orchard Swallowtail (Papilio aegeus), No-brand Grass-yellow (Eurema brigitta) and Lurcher (Yoma sabina) have narrower ranges within the Northern Territory than previously suspected, being restricted to north-eastern Arnhem Land and/or the Gulf of Carpentaria. Within the Top End, six species, including the Gove Crow (Euploea alcathoe enastri), are restricted to northeastern Arnhem Land, but three others, A. metaurus, E. brigitta, and Red-banded Jezebel (Delias mysis), are probably rare vagrants from northern Queensland.

To cite this article: Braby, Michael F. Remarks on the spatial distribution of some butterflies and diurnal moths (Lepidoptera) in the Top End of the Northern Territory, Australia [online]. Northern Territory Naturalist, Vol. 25, Mar 2014: 29-49. Availability: <;dn=245461946990134;res=IELHSS> ISSN: 0155-4093. [cited 22 Jul 17].

Personal Author: Braby, Michael F; Source: Northern Territory Naturalist, Vol. 25, Mar 2014: 29-49 DOI: Document Type: Journal Article, Research ISSN: 0155-4093 Subject: Butterflies--Geographical distribution; Spatial ecology; Butterflies--Breeding; Species diversity; Moths--Ecology; Affiliation: (1) Department of Natural Resource Management, Northern Territory Government,PO Box 496, Palmerston, NT 0831, and School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, ACT 0200, email:

Database: Humanities & Social Sciences Collection