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Butterflies of Australia
Shouldered Brown
Heteronympha penelope  WATERHOUSE, 1937
Family - NYMPHALIDAE
subfamily - SATYRINAE
Tribe -
Heteronympha penelope  Canberra, Australia David Fischer
Introduction
The genus Heteronympha comprises of 7 species, all of which are endemic to Australia. The males of all species are similar in pattern with orange-brown or pale earthy brown uppersides criss-crossed and marbled with dark brown markings.
The females of most species are quite similar to the males but paler and duller in ground colour. An exception is mirifica in which the female has broad white bands across the forewings.
Both sexes of all species have subapical ocelli on the forewings and tornal ocelli on the hindwings. The undersides are variable, mirroring the upperside pattern in cordace, paradelpha and penelope but being cryptic and with only light markings in banksii, merope, mirifica and solandri.
Heteronympha penelope is a widespread species found in New South Wales, Canberra, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
Habitats
This species inhabits open grassy areas within Eucalyptus woodland at elevations between about 600-200m.
Lifecycle
The eggs are ovoid, shiny, and cream in colour. The female does not settle to glue her eggs onto anything. Instead she drops them at random as she flies over grasses. She usually chooses areas close to trees, bushes or fences, presumably because these areas tend to escape the attention of grazing animals that would inadvertently devour the resulting larvae.
The larva lacks head horns. It can be either green or brown, with dark dorsal and lateral markings. It feeds at dusk on grasses including Austrodanthonia, Microlaena, Poa and Themeda ( Poaceae ). The pupa is plump, round and pale straw in colour mottled with light brown. It is formed loose on the surface of the ground, often at the base of trees or bushes.
Adult behaviour

The flight is normally slow, but if the butterfly is alarmed it adopts a rapid, erratic, zigzag flight pattern that serves to confuse insectivorous birds. The butterflies rest among dead leaf litter, and thermo-regulate by tilting their wings to maximise or minimise exposure to the sun, depending on ambient temperatures.

 

 

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