Common crow butterfly on Psychotria flower

Flight Season

Common Crow butterfly flight months

Common Crow

(Euploea corinna)

 

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumArthropoda
ClassInsecta
OrderLepidoptera
FamilyNymphalidae
GenusEuploea
Speciescorinna

Distribution

Common Crow butterfly range map

Other Common Names

Common Australian Crow, Oleander Butterfly

Syn: Euploea core, Euploea core corinna

Status

Very common and widespread.

Description

The Common Crow Butterfly (Euploea corinna) is one of the most frequently-encountered butterflies in the northern parts of Australia. It is medium-sized, with a wingspan of around 7cm.

Overall, it is very dark brown in colour, appearing almost black, and has a row of white spots along the outer margins of its wings. There is a somewhat broader, sub-terminal row of white markings on the hindwing and a more scattered pattern of similar white marks on the outer half of the forewing.

Male and female Common Crow Butterflies are almost identical, however, the male has a thin, translucent scent gland towards the middle of the forewing. The trailing edge of the forewing is also bowed in males, and straight in females. (Note: See male in open-winged image above).

The caterpillar of the Common Crow Butterfly has vertical orange, black, and white bands running along its body. Its underside is almost black in colour, and there is a thin, white line separating the dark underside from the stripes above.

The most noticeable features of the caterpillar are the four pairs of long, black “tentacles” that emerge from the body, similar to those found on the caterpillars of Monarch (Danaus plexippus) or Blue Tiger (Tirumala hamata) butterflies. Two pairs emerge from the thorax, while another two pairs can be found at intervals along the abdomen.

Of course, the Common Crow Butterfly is renowned for its spectacular chrysalis, which appears to be highly reflective silver-gold in colour. This is an illusion, as the chrysalis is actually formed by a number of transparent layers which results in the reflective surface.

The chrysalis is a little under two centimetres long. It is usually found hanging vertically by the cremaster to the underside of leaves of the host plant.

 

 

Behaviour

The Common Crow Butterfly has a very slow, gliding style of flight. It is usually seen flying within a few meters of the ground.

During winter, these butterflies will migrate and form large aggregations which are comprised of several thousand individuals. They take refuge in sheltered locations such as coastal vine thickets or rocky overhangs. Here they enter a type of hibernation and live off fat reserves or local nectar sources until warmer conditions return.

Habitat

Many, including gardens, open woodland, and Coastal Vine thickets.

Host Plants

 *exotic

Notes

The Common Crow Butterfly has glands which exude a strong scent. These are thought to warn predators of its toxic nature (which arise due to the host plants of this butterfly). Ingesting a single individual may be enough to induce vomiting in birds – a strong disincentive to eating! Despite this, these toxins have little to no effect on other arthropods, meaning Common Crow is still on the menu for spiders or predatory insects.

Similar Species

Small Brown Crow, Purple Crow, Two-brand Crow, Mournful Crow, No-brand Crow, Eichhorn’s Crow, Climena Crow.

Further Reading (affiliate link)

A Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia (2016)

by Braby, M.F.

CSIRO Publishing