Links to help identify butterflies


Orange Ringlet (Hypocysta adiante)

These Orange Ringlets are often around our place, either on something that is flowering, or “resting” in grass or leaf litter.

This one is on the flowers of a Soap Tree (Alphitonia excelsa).

While checking my ID of this species I realised that I have a range of links that could be useful to other people who want to identify a butterfly.

Actually I usually start with a field guide: The Butterflies of Australia, by Albert Orr and Roger Kitching.  It’s a fantastic book, and in addition to the thousands of paintings of different species and different life cycle stages it has a lot of informative text.  “Field guide” is a bit of a misnomer though.  While it is softcover it is also large and heavy, more something that you might carry in your day-pack, if weight wasn’t a consideration.

Links to useful websites

My usual first stop on the internet is the butterfly index page on Brisbane Insects. Peter Chew has created a fantastic public resource with this website.  It has a huge range of insect and spider photos with explanatory text.  Over the years he has improved the site by adding index pages for the different groups and his butterfly pages are a good example of this.

On the butterfly page you will find thumbnails of typical examples of each group with links to the detailed photo pages.

Of course Peter’s species are limited to those you will find the greater Brisbane area, but though we are 100km west of Brisbane it is still a good source for anything on our place.

[this list is under construction – please check back later for more links]

Australian Butterflies has a great thumbnail index page with good (and bigger than thumbnail) images to help you sort out what your butterfly might be.  Generally lots of photos of each species, and often with caterpillar and chrysalis.

Australian Butterfly Photos on Deane Lewis’ Australian Nature Photography site has a reasonable range of images but suffers from not allowing you to see all his photos of one species on the same page.

Butterflies of Australia  by Tobias Westmeier should perhaps be called Butterflies of the Sydney Region, but it does have a wide range of butterfly species and has excellent notes on appearance, wingspan, season, range and habitat.  The website design is excellent and the Families and Sub-Families are all on the one page, with very good thumbnail shots.  Frequently has multiple photos of a species.  Includes butterflies of Germany, but all pages which are relevant to Australia are in perfect English.

Butterflies of Australia (Australian Butterfly House) This site has possibly the most complete set of photographs of Australian butterfly species, and particularly photos of eggs, caterpillars and cocoons.  However, too many of the photos of butterflies are of museum specimens, even where the species is relatively common.  It is not typical to see butterflies in the pinned specimen position, or with the faded colours of museum specimens.  Unless you are trying to ID a caterpillar or cocoon, this would be a site to come back to if other sites haven’t yielded an ID.