I photographed my first Glasswing Acraea andromacha this week.

The wings of most butterflies are covered with coloured scales. The Glasswing butterfly has no scales on its forewing giving it a translucent glassy appearance. These wings are also very trough which may help given the unusual mating behaviour. Males capture newly emerged females as soon as they fly, carry them to the ground where they mate forcibly. (The Butterflies of Australia – Orr & Kitching) Reading this forces me to look at butterflies very differently. My somewhat romantic view of butterflies as beautiful gentle creatures has come crashing to the ground as well.

The Glasswings are listed as common along the east coast, Victoria, Northern Territory and northern parts of Western Australia.

Food plants for Glasswing caterpillars on Mt Gravatt are the  native Spade Flower Hybanthus stellarioides, a delicate herb with a yellow “spade” shaped flower, and the invasive weed – Corky Passion Vine Passiflora suberosa.

Forty-five butterfly species have been identified on Mt Gravatt and with the development of Pollinator Links through the suburbs we aim to bring more of these beautiful and, it seems, agressive creatures back to backyards.