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"World's Most Beautiful Butterfly" spotted in Riddells Creek

posted 20 Apr 2011, 23:55 by Russell Best   [ updated 21 Apr 2011, 01:00 ]
The butterfly that is often quoted as being the most beautiful butterfly in the world has been recorded for the first time in Riddells Creek. The "Wanderer" or "Monarch" butterfly (scientific name Danaus plexippus plexippus) is not strictly a native but it arrived here in Australia of its own accord and now can reside here only because its food plant started to be planted here. The first record of it in Australia is in 1871.

See map below which shows specimen collection records at the Victoria Museum - showing nothing close to Riddells Creek or the Macedon Range has been recorded previously.

For more information on the Wanderer, see:
"Wanderer Butterflies live in urban areas, where its food plants (e.g. milkweeds) are found." Hence the cluster of records around Melbourne. The species is often featured in Nature TV programs because of its mass migrations over long distances in the Americas.

Below left: Wanderer specimen record map generated from the Victoria Museum website.
Above right: Wanderer (showing wing upperside) - photo by Julie Macdonald, Riddells Creek.
Below right: Wanderer (showing wing underside) - photo by Julie Macdonald, Riddells Creek.