Leopard Lacewing (Cethosia cyane)

collage of photos of two different butterflies with black edges,white markings and orange

Most species of butterflies have a male and a female that look alike, but the Leopard Lacewing, on the other hand, do not. When the male and the female butterflies of the same species do not look alike, this is called sexual dimorphism. Sexual dimorphism occurs in several species of butterflies. One reason that the male butterflies are brighter is because they are constantly flying around to find mates so they need to be able to attract the attention of the female butterflies. The female butterflies tend to move very little until they are mated. The male Leopard Lacewing has orange on the inside of its wings. The male also has brighter colors on the outside wings, while the female’s inside and outside wings appear white or yellow and are not as bright. In 2008, Reiman Gardens had something rare occur. We had a Leopard Lacewing butterfly that had male characteristics on the right wings and female characteristics on the left wings, this is called gynandromorph.

The Leopard Lacewing (Cethosia cyane) can be found in Southeast Asia. While in its natural habitat, this butterfly loves to lay its eggs on its host plant, Passiflora. As the caterpillars hatch, they feed on their host plant until they pupate or make their chrysalis. The caterpillars digest chemicals from the host plant that help defend them against predators. The Leopard Lacewing caterpillars have bars that run the length of their bodies of red, brown, and yellow. The caterpillars have spikes that protrude from their body. After the caterpillars complete five instar stages (molt their skin), they will form a chrysalis during the fifth instar stage. Once the Leopard Lacewing emerges, depending upon if it is a male or female can be 6-7 ½ centimeters in the wingspan. If you would like to see a Leopard Lacewing butterfly, they are a common butterfly that flies in the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing.

For more information about Leopard Lacewing butterflies click on the links below:





-Reiman Gardens Education Intern, Mandalyn