A great egret looks for breakfast at Calamvale Creek

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Scientific stuff

Common crow butterfly, Australian crow butterfly, or oleander butterfly

Subspecies:
Euploea core corinna
Subfamily: Danainae
Family: Nymphalidae
Order: Lepidoptera

Identification:
Black or very dark brown wings (photos often show the black as dark brown) with small white spots around the wing edges and inner parts, and thicker white patches that look like the letters n, o, or i. White spots on black body.

Wingspan:
Similar to blue tiger butterfly
about 7 centimetres
(3 inches).

Personality:
Quiet show-off

Using our photos

Photos on this website are copyright. If you want to use any, email us at: creeklife@gmail.com

Crow's photos

Three of the photos on this page were taken in early January, although larger numbers of crow butterflies appear in early March. The one on the yellow flower was taken in mid-April.

Crow put on a special performance for the camera. He saw the photographer and landed on a plant right next to him. He waited and posed while the photographer took photos from various angles.

The photographer said:
“Crow was a delight to photograph. He stayed until I got all the photos I wanted, and then left with a fluttering motion as though he was waving goodbye and saying 'Thank you for the publicity'”.

Critters of Calamvale Creek

Crow, the oleander butterfly

Also called common Australian crow butterfly, common crow butterfly, oleander butterfly

Euploea core

Crow butterfly resting on plantHello, ladies and gentlemen. Let me introduce myself. I'm Calamvale Crow. I got my name because beautiful black and white butterflies like me are called crow butterflies.

How we got that name is anyone's guess. Maybe it's because we look black like crows.

It can't be because crows eat us, because we taste disgusting to birds. We make sure we feed on plants that have special chemicals that let us produce poisons that will make some birds vomit if they eat us. (Some critters don't mind the bad taste, so I stay away from the spiders and dragonflies around the creek.)

crow_butterfly_on_flower (29K)

What do I eat?

Crow butterflyI like oleander plants, and that's why I am also known as the “oleander butterfly”.

I like milkweeds and native figs, Chilean jasmine, and rubber vine. I like numerous plants in the Apocynaceae, Asclepiadaceae, and Moraceae families.

The creek here at Calamvale in Brisbane, Australia, and nearby gardens in houses, have some delicious plants that I love.

How long will I live?

Most crow butterflies live for only one to three months — but that's equivalent to about 70 human years, so don't feel sorry for me. I can get a lot of fluttering, feeding, and resting done in that time. What a full life! And I look so pretty!

Crow butterfly with wings spread outLike monarch butterflies and blue tiger butterflies, we congregate in large numbers over winter and go into a kind of dormant state called overwintering. This can extend our lifespan by many months over winter when our food source is scarce.

Another interesting thing about crow butterflies is that we have only four normal legs. Insects are supposed to have six. Well, we do really have six, but our first two legs never fully develop. We think that's why we are so beautiful.

You may see us anywhere around Calamvale Creek or in nearby gardens from spring through to autumn.

— Crow the butterfly


A millimetre from death!

crow butterfly on spider leaf This amazing photo from Calamvale Creek shows a common crow butterfly resting on a leaf-curling spider's home — with the spider inside!

Less than one millimetre separates the butterfly from the spider's mouth.

Fortunately for the butterfly, leaf-curling spiders are shy little critters, and unless this spider becomes extremely hungry, she will prefer to wait until insects get caught in her web before venturing out. So this butterfly had a lucky escape.