Delias hyparete metarete

Butler 1879 - The Painted Jezebel

Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan.

The genus Delias is the largest of the Pieridae, and there are currently 278 species known, being found from Kashmir, through Asia to New Caledonia, with new discoveries nearly every year.

This species is found in two subspecies in Thailand. The subspecies found on Samui is D. hyparete metarete, and is the southern form, found on peninsular Thailand and the Malay peninsular. (The northern form, D. hyparete indica has more yellow on the hindwing underside, and the black markings on the upperside are lighter).

This is one of only two Delias species found so far on the island, and it is quite unmistakeable. In common with nearly all members of this genus, the upperside is predominately white, whilst the underside is the more colourful. The female is darker than the male, and both sexes have the veins marked in black. The species tends to keep to lower altitudes, and prefers to fly around the tops of flowering bushes and trees, being seen primarily in open woodland and often nearby gardens.

The butterfly is most often seen in the early part of the day. During the heat of mid day, they can usually be found sheltering in shade under trees to escape the direct heat of the sun.

Very rarely, the red markings on the undersides are replaced by yellow.

Flight Period



60-75 mm

Early Stages

Fully known. More detailed life history information is available from the following resource: ButterflyCircle Blog (courtesy of Dr. Horace Tan.)

Larval Foodplant

Loranthus species (mistletoe)


Nicobar Islands, Southern Thailand,  Mainland Malaysia and Singapore (Other subspecies from S. India, E. Nepal, Bangladesh,  NE India, throughout Indo-China, Southern China, Taiwan, The Indonesian Archipelago as far as Lombok, Borneo and the Philippines)