What is this cocoon?
Location: Australia, New south wales
December 1, 2010 6:23 am
Yo bugman, well i live in australia new south wales and have lived here all my life and never seen this insect before its currently a cocoon, that is yellow with black spikes i found it on a spinach leaf from my garden, i was wondering if you could give me some insight into what it might be and if it could be dangerous to me or my garden.
This appears to be a Butterfly Chrysalis, but we need to research the species.
Identified as Jezabel Chrysalis by Keith Wolfe
Gidday Wade and Daniel,
This unmistakable pupa is that of Delias, one of the so-called Jezebels — almost certainly D. nigrina, if memory serves me correctly. I’ll write a bit more about these most interesting butterflies after I return home later today.
Thanks so much Keith. Your comments are always valued contributions. The Brisbane Insect website has a nice photo of the chrysalis of the Common Jezabel, Delias nigrina, and the Australian Caterpillar website also has confirming photographs.
Karl also supplies the identification
Hi Daniel and Wade:
It appears to be the chrysalis of a Black Jezabel (also Common Jezabel), Delias nigrina (Pieridae: Pierinae). It ranges along the east coast of Australia from Queensland to Victoria. The caterpillars feed on a variety of mistletoes. If Google Translate works for you, you can see a really nice series of photos here, of an adult emerging from its chrysalis. Regards. Karl
More information from Keith Wolfe
December 4, 2010
Hello again, Wade. Regarding “dangerous to me or my garden”, the answer is a definite NO — unless you or those dear have a craving for caterpillar/chrysalis cuisine. The highly gregarious larvae (group repellent defense) and aposematic pupae and adults (warningly colored) of Jezebels presumably advertise their unpalatability to vertebrate predators, the toxins being derived from the mistletoe plants that caterpillars eat. Mistletoes typically grow in the upper reaches of host trees where the eggs are laid and hatchlings develop, with fully mature individuals often descending to lower levels a month or so later to pupate. Depending upon ambient conditions and larval luck, you should be treated to a beautiful Black Jezebel butterfly in the days ahead.
Hope this helps, Wade. Hooroo mate!