I was in the Yarra Ranges about 100km east of Melbourne and I spotted a butterfly that I hadn’t seen before. I looked in a lot of data bases and gave up ‘cos it wasn’t there. Then my persistent brother found it on a South Australian site and then I expanded and found out that it exists from South Australia around the coast to New South Wales. But it is rare. I won’t tell you what all the sites are because unless you are a lepidopterist it won’t make an iota of difference.
This is Tisiphone abeona
Varied Swordgrass Brown and here it is on some sword grass. In contrast to most butterflies I have met this fellow wasn’t worried by me being here and didn’t fly away. That was good news. Bad news was I didn’t get to take any different shots.
It spite of it rarity, or maybe because of it, it featured on a series of Australian postage stamps in 1981. Anyone who chases butterflies will know that any variation in marking will probably indicate a different sub-species. So the lack of yellow on the lower wings doesn’t stop it from being what it is.
On first look I thought I spotted an RAF roundel but the red and blue is reversed, although I have seen it somewhere claiming the red outer ring as RAF but maybe that is a rarity. The Egyptian Airforce does, or did, have the outer ring red but neither have a whiter middle ring. Still, it does look like an airforce marking for some, as yet unknown airforce.
Lepidopterology (from Ancient Greek λεπίδος (scale) and πτερόν (wing); and -λογία -logia.), is a branch of entomology concerning the scientific study of moths and the three superfamilies of butterflies. Someone that studies in this field is a lepidopterist.