Chequered Swallowtails, uncommon visitors to Claire Cottage, have bred freely in our garden on native Cullen tenax plants we have successfully introduced. This lovely butterfly is migratory, flying from its main western NSW breeding grounds and dispersing widely along the coastal strip. Hence we only see them when a migration is occurring, normally late September and October and only in small numbers, the exception being Oct 2009 when many arrived and stayed in our garden for several days. We generally see them no more than once or twice a summer. Having their food plant growing in our garden encourages them to linger longer on their infrequent visits, sometimes they deposit eggs on the Cullen tenax.
The red spots on the wings may exist to startle predators. Regardless they add striking colour.
Chequered Swallowtail feeding on Pentas, 3 Mar 2015 11.42 am
Chequered Swallowtail feeding on Blue-eyed Daisy (Osteospermum), 27 Aug 2009 12.30 pm
Young Chequered Swallowtail caterpillar feeding on Cullen tenax, 16 Nov 2014
Final instar Chequered Swallowtail caterpillar feeding on Cullen tenax, 24 Nov 2014
4th instar caterpillar feeding on Cullen (8.12.16)
Cullen tenax seedheads look like a caterpillar
Day 1 - a Chequered Swallowtail caterpillar in the pre-pupal stage Dec 18th 2016
Day 2 - new pupa (chrysalis) still soft, Dec 19th 2016
Day 3 - hardened pupa (chrysalis), Dec 20th 2016
Day 17 - butterfly is about to hatch, Jan 3rd 2017 - note the newly formed butterfly with its small wings can be seen within the pupa.
Day 17 - successful hatching, Jan 3rd 2017 12.03 pm - having expanded its wings after emergence they are now drying.