In our last blog post we talked about our visit to the Coffs Harbour Butterfly House in Bonville, NSW. Today we want to show you some of the many different species of butterflies that Greg and I saw and photographed.
You can find out more about which butterfly species live at the Coffs Butterfly house at their website.
There were literally hundreds of butterflies flying around the glasshouse, yet some species landed near us and we were able to photograph them. There are paths that lead around the glass enclosure and wooden benches to sit down, relax and enjoy the sites.
One of the first butterflies, which we saw when we entered the glasshouse, was the brightly coloured, metallic-blue Ulysses. This gorgeous creature is found naturally in Northern Queensland, in coastal subtropical rain-forests. It is best viewed from February to May and can have a wing span up to 10cm.
You may notice a slight deformity in the wings. That is because when this Ulysses came out of his Chrysalis he did not straighten out his wings as they dried. Hence they have dried with this deformity. This may reduce this butterflies life, as it will be more difficult to fly with wings like this.
We were also blessed to see another one sitting on a leave in a tree and took a photo of it with its wings closed together. When the Ulysses butterfly lands somewhere it is most common for it to keep its wings together so that its shiny blue colour is not seen. This means that it is more difficult to tell that it is indeed a Ulysses. In this image you can tell that the species is indeed Ulysses by the distinct outline of the wings.
One of the butterflies that landed on us most often was the Varied Eggfly also known as the Common Eggfly. The female and male have their own distinctive colouring and patterns. The female varied eggfly butterfly has larger wings than the male with an orange spot on each wing as well as white spots. The male common eggfly has white spots with a violet tinge around the white dots.
It is interesting to note that as the butterflies get older they wings become more tattered looking. Often sections of the wings are broken off due to the fighting that occurs between different butterflies. I used to think that when they flew after each other they were just playing together, but apparently they can actually attack each other and fight. This was something that I was previously unaware of.
The largest Australian butterfly, the Cairns Birdwing, is also well represented at the Coffs Butterfly House. They are everywhere and love to come and land right next to the visitors. As with many other species of this delightful insect, the Cairns Birdwings also have distinct patterns on the male and female butterfly.
When the wings are closed on the Cairns birdwing you can easily tell if it is a female or male. They both have a lovely, bright red colour around their head, although the female usually has a larger red area. They also both have a brightly yellow coloured abdomen section, which makes them easy to distinguish from other species.
The male’s wings have more colours on than the female. Whereas the female just has yellow and white flecks on the outside of her wings, the male has a large section that is green and yellow, forming a delightful pattern.
We also saw the orange coloured Cruiser butterfly, which feeds on Passionfruit vines and can be found naturally in Tropical Northern Queensland in rainforest environments. The cruiser is best viewed from February to May each year and has a wingspan up to 8cm.
We are going to leave this blog post here and continue tomorrow with part 2 of our visit to the Coffs Butterfly House and the many different, beautiful butterflies that we saw on our visit.
We really enjoyed our trip to Coffs Harbour. There were so many fun things that we did. Just kicking back and relaxing was so refreshing.
We encourage you to stop for a moment, look around you and take a breath. Life can rush past too quickly if we don’t take time to enjoy it!
So perhaps you too can plan a trip either locally or further afield and enjoying travelling the world!