Setting the foundations

By AG STAFF 29 September 2016
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The beginning of a chrysalis for one of Australia’s largest butterflies.

This week’s reader photo was taken by Johan Larson in Redlynch, Queensland.

“A Cairns birdwing butterfly (Ornithoptera euphorion) caterpillar in the process of suspending itself in order to start the transformation into a chrysalis. The butterfly will then develop within the chrysalis and later emerge as Australia’s largest butterfly,” explains Johan.

“The Cairns birdwing caterpillars feed on the leaves of native vines (Aristolochia spp. and Pararistolochia spp). Unfortunately a closely related species, the dutchman’s pipe (Aristolochia elegans) has been introduced to Australia and when the caterpillars feed on this vine they die.

“I’m lucky to have a native vine in my backyard with a fairly constant supply of caterpillars and that’s where I captured this photo,” says Johan.

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