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Hypolimnas bolina

Hypolimnas bolina
Photo Information
Copyright: Giorgio Mercuri (Photoslave) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 141 W: 0 N: 55] (1199)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-03-02
Categories: Insects
Exposure: f/4.9, 1/125 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-03-14 15:46
Viewed: 7474
Points: 12
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Thanks to drmw for ID

Infos from Wikipedia:

The Great Eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina), also called Blue Moon Butterfly in New Zealand or Common Eggfly, is a species of nymphalid butterfly.

Hypolimnas bolina is divided into eight subspecies:

Hypolimnas bolina bolina (Linnaeus, 1758)
Hypolimnas bolina nerina (Fabricius, 1775)
Hypolimnas bolina montrouzieri (Butler)
Hypolimnas bolina pulchra (Butler)
Hypolimnas bolina pallescens (Butler)
Hypolimnas bolina lisianassa (Cramer)
Hypolimnas bolina jacintha (Drury, 1773)
Hypolimnas bolina kezia (Butler)

Race bolina

The Great Eggfly is a black-bodied butterfly with a wingspan of about 78 cm. The species has a high degree of sexual dimorphism. The female is mimetic with multiple morphs.


The upper side of the wings are jet black, offset with three pairs of white spots two on the forewing and one on the hind. These white spots are surrounded by purple iridescence. In addition, the upper side of the hind wing bears a series of small white dots.


The upper side of the wings of the female is a brownish black and does not have any spots like those of the male. The edges bear white markings which are similar to those of the Common Indian Crow.


Great Eggflies are found in Madagascar in the west, through to South and Southeast Asia, South Pacific islands (French Polynesia, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu) and occurs in parts of Australia, Japan and New Zealand.


The Great Eggfly is a fairly common butterfly found in lightly wooded country, deciduous forests, thick and moist scrub and the greener parts of human habitation.


To the west the female is monomorphic, mimicking species of the oriental and Australasian danaid genus Euploea. Eastwards H. bolina is frequently polymorphic and most forms are then non-mimetic. In areas where it resembles Euploea the butterfly has usually been designated a Batesian mimic.

Life cycle and ecology

Great Eggflies are known for maternal care, with the females guarding leaves where eggs have been laid. Males are also very territorial. The female hovers over a plant to check for ants which will eat her eggs. After selecting a plant which has no ants on it, she lays at least one but often two to five eggs on the undersides of the leaves.

Host plants

Race bolina breeds on Fleuria interrupta, Sida rhombifolia, Elatostemma cuneatum, Portulaca oleracea, Laportea interrupta, Triumfetta pentandra, and Asystasia species.

Other hosts include Elatostema cuneatum, Fleurya interrupta,Pseuderanthemum variabile and Synedrella nodiflora.

The eggs are a pale, glassy green with longitudinal ridges except on the top.


After about four days the eggs hatch. The caterpillars immediately disperse. They are black with an orange head. The last segment is also orange. The head bears a pair of long branched black horns. The body surface is also covered with long, branched, orangish black spines. These spines look whitish and transparent immediately after moulting, but soon become the usual orange. In later instars the spiracles are surrounded by thin, dirty orange rings. Infection by Wolbachia bacteria is known to exclusively kill male specimens.


The pupa is suspended by just one point. It is brown with a grey tinge on the wings. The abdominal segments have distinct tubercles. The surface of the pupa is rough. The butterfly emerges after seven to eight days as pupae (female development is always a bit longer).

Recent evolutionary changes

On the Samoan islands of Upolu and Savaii, a parasite (probably Wolbachia) had been killing the male members of Hypolimnas bolina. The problem was so severe that by the year 2001, males made up only 1% of the population. However, in 2007, it was reported that within a span of just 10 generations (less than a year), the males had evolved to develop immunity to the parasite, and the male population increased to nearly 40%.

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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-03-14 19:46]

Giorgio this is an interesting shot. But could have little more lighting to show the wing colors. but still vibrant colors. Nice angle. . Ganesh

  • drmw Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 15 W: 0 N: 98] (1192)
  • [2008-03-15 3:28]
  • [+]


great Eggfly

Hypolimnas bolina.


  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-03-15 6:25]

Hi Giorgio.
You managed to picture a very nice butterfly. Unfortunately I do not know its ID. Sharpness and details of the image are perfect. BG is created by impressive leaf is great too. It seems to me shot is underexposed a bit. My best wishes and TFS.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2008-03-15 10:04]

Ciao Giorgio,questo e' un grande scoop,un esemplare veramente rarissimo di......eheheheh non lo so,bisogna chiedere aiuto a Marcello,comunque ci hai fatto una grande sorpresa,di solito si torna dalle Maldive con le foto dei pesci,non con le farfalle!! Sei grande!!! Buona Domenica e complimenti per la grande qualita' della foto,Luciano

Ciao Giorgio, elegante farfalla, la prima volta che l vedo, certo che non l'hai fotografata dietro casa eh, splendida la messa a fuoco e ottimi i dettagli, bravo, ciao Silvio

Hello Giorgio,
Good point of view makes the butterfly look it's best!
Nice details in the wing pattern, and the texture has this silky-crisp feeling...
Well framed, fine natural colours!
Pablo -

  • Great 
  • izler Gold Star Critiquer [C: 1387 W: 3 N: 9] (44)
  • [2008-03-23 1:35]

hello Giorgio
well close-up working on this beautiful butterfly even difficult angle and light condition
i like composition, colours, sharpness and informative note

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