Butterflies on Black Mountain

Black Mountain is regarded as a “hotspot” for butterflies, and we have enjoyed the Butterfly Walks led by Dr Suzi Bond.

The following butterflies were seen here in the last few years.

Macleay's Swallowtail Imperial Hairstreak Golden Ant-blue
Dainty Swallowtail Spotted Jezebel Broad-margined Azure
Bronze Flat Imperial Jezebel Varied Dusky-blue
Heath Ochre Australian Painted Lady Blotched Dusky-blue
Montane Ochre Meadow Argus Fringed Heath-blue
Flame Sedge-skipper Tailed Emperor Wattle Blue
Cabbage White Common Brown Saltbush Blue
Caper White Marbled Xenica Common Grass-blue

Suzi’s book, Field Guide to Butterflies in the Australian Capital Territory (2016), has wonderful information and illustrations.

Butterflies go through different stages; egg, caterpillar and butterfly. As caterpillars they enjoy food plants, but when they become butterflies they seek nectar.

What are some of the plants that caterpillars like?

As caterpillars, they enjoy being on Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata) and Black Wattle, Green Wattle (Acacia mearnsii), Hickory Wattle (Acacia implexa), in mistletoe (Amyema miguelii, Amyema pendula), grasses such as Spikey-headed Mat-rush (Lomandra longifolia), Grasses and Sedges e.g. Poacea spp Hooked Sedge (Carex appresssa), and ground cover such as False Sarsaparilla and Purple Coral pea (Hardenbergia violacea).

When they emerge as butterflies, they are interested in nectar in acacia, eucalyptus and tea-trees, and other plants. On Black Mountain, this includes the acacia trees mentioned above and Hickory Wattle (Acacia implexa), the Scribbly Gum (Eucalyptus rossii), Brittle Gum (E. mannifera), Broad-leaved Peppermint (E. dives), Red Box (E. polyanthemus), Prickly Tea-tree (Leptospermum continentale), and Silver Tea-tree (Leptospermum multicaule).

It is good to see clusters of flowers because the butterflies love blue, yellow and red flowers. So they could be seen on the native Bluebells (Wahlenbegria spp), daisies such as the Sticky Everlasting (Xeroshrysum viscosum), Yellow Buttons (Chrysocephalum apiculatum), and Clustered Everlasting (Chrysocephalum semipapposum), or the red flowers of the Mountain Grevillea (Grevillea alpina).

They also like Australian Blackthorn shrub (Bursonia spinosa) and the climber Small-leaved Clematis (Clematis leptophylla), as well as the purple pea flower ground-cover (Hardenbergia violacea).

Some butterflies seen on Black Mountain

Blotched Dusky-blue
Blotched Dusky-blue on Bushy Needlewood (Hakea decurrens)
Blotched Dusky-blue
Blotched Dusky-blue at Black Mountain (S Bond)
Caper White
Caper White (S Bond)
Common Brown
Common Brown (Beth Tyerman)
Common Grass-blue
Common Grass-blue (S Bond)
Common Grass-blue larva
Common Grass-blue larva (Cath Busby)
Dainty Swallowtail
Dainty Swallowtail just emerged (Cecilia Melano)
Macleay’s Swallowtail
Macleay’s Swallowtail (S Bond)
Varied Dusky-blue
Varied Dusky-blue (S Bond)
Yellow Admiral
Yellow Admiral
Bronze Flat
Bronze Flat (S Bond)
Tailed Emporer
Tailed Emperor (S Bond)
Heath Ochre
Heath Ochre (S Bond)
Spotted Jezebel
Spotted Jezebel (S Bond)
Imperial Hairstreak
Imperial Hairstreak (S Bond)
Imperial Jezebel
Imperial Jezebel

Some of the plants butterflies like

Black Wattle, Green Wattle (Acacia mearnsii)
Black Wattle, Green Wattle (Acacia mearnsii)
Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata)
Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata)
Spikey-headed Mat-rush (Lomandra longifolia)
Spikey-headed Mat-rush (Lomandra longifolia)
Australian Blackthorn
Australian Blackthorn (Bursaria spinosa)

 

Scribbly Gum (Eucalyptus rossii)
Scribbly Gum (Eucalyptus rossii)
Clustered Everlasting (Chrysocephalum semipapposum)
Clustered Everlasting (Chrysocephalum semipapposum)
Prickly Tea-tree (Leptospermum continentale)
Prickly Tea-tree (Leptospermum continentale)
Silver Tea-tree (Leptospermum multicaule)
Silver Tea-tree (Leptospermum multicaule)
Small-leaved clematis (Clematis leptophylla)
Small-leaved clematis (Clematis leptophylla)
False Sarsaparilla, Purple Coral pea (Hardenbergia violacea)
False Sarsaparilla, Purple Coral pea (Hardenbergia violacea)