DORRIGO PLATEAU: (no known food plants growing in the wild on the Plateau)
ELSEWHERE: ARISTOLOCHIACEAE - Aristolochia holtzei (in NT), A. acuminata, A. chalmersii, A. meridonalis, A. pibera, A. thozetii, Pararistolochia praevenosa (in QLD).
Known Larval Food Plants: Whilst Pararistolochia praevenosa has been planted at Claire Cottage and does well here the most southerly known food plant growing naturally in the wild is Aristolochia e (but none are known to be growing this far south of Grafton).
We have only sighted males on our property. They have usually been in a hurry flying broadly in a southerly direction and usually not taking time out to feed.
However our most recent sightings were exceptions – a male on 05/09/16 at 03.15 pm and another on 16/09/16 at 01.00 pm. Both days were warm and sunny with temperatures in the 18-20°C range.
The first was feeding on Eriostemonaustralasius which was in full flower. The butterfly took flight before we could return with a camera. On this occasion it flew due north over our rainforest.
The second one stopped with us for many minutes and fed on Rosemary which was also in full flower. It would glide and then fly to gain height over the house or trees appearing to circuit the garden and return to the Rosemary. Finally we were able to get some photos of a Cressida cressida here at Claire Cottage.
As none of the Clearwing Swallowtail's known food plants are thought to grow naturally on or near the Dorrigo Plateau we have only made rare sightings here. Our few sightings at Claire Cottage have always been of males. The butterflies seldom stay with us for more than a few moments. Understanding why males come this far south if their larval food plant does not grow south of Grafton is a mystery still to be solved.