How butterflies are helping determine the health of our region

Did you know butterflies are considered indicators of environmental health and Brisbane has approximately 160 known butterfly species?

An abundance of butterflies signals good environmental condition while declining numbers may be a sign of problems with consequences for other wildlife.

Brisbane Catchments Network’s Biodiversity Strategy was the trigger to initiate a census of our city’s butterflies, supported by Brisbane City Council.

You can be part of measuring Brisbane’s environmental pulse through Brisbane’s Big Butterfly Count.


Photography supplied by Brisbane Catchments Network .


Brisbane’s Big Butterfly Count has designed an easy to use downloadable flyer depicting common butterfly species found throughout Brisbane, with images showing the upper and underside of 31 butterflies, making it easy to recognise, identify, and record them. The flyers are designed to be used by all age groups and knowledge levels.

Use the flyer to record sightings of butterflies in your garden, local park, schoolyard, or while on a walk through bushland or along a creek in your local area

You can also pick up a copy of the flyer from your local catchment group (find your local group here).

Alternatively, if you have a smart device, download BioCollect and search for Brisbane’s Big Butterfly Count.

If you see community members out and about swinging their butterfly nets, you know what they are working towards!

Photography supplied by Brisbane Catchments Network .


Why are butterflies so important?

Butterflies are a vital part of the food chain, with caterpillars alone providing gourmet food for a variety of predators. They are favourites of birds, spiders, wasps and other critters who have them on their menu.

While bees are considered the most efficient pollinators, butterflies visit substantially more flowers and make a significant contribution to pollination, thus helping all plants to reproduce and remain genetically healthy.

All butterflies and moths rely on specific host plants. Their larvae are very selective feeders and will only survive if they find their native host plants, while the adult butterflies drink nectar from any flowering plants.

You can help protect these important species by looking after your gardens and local areas and by planting native plants for all stages of the butterfly life cycle.


Photography supplied by Sylvia Alexander.


More information

Webinars, workshops, and field walks with a focus on all aspects of butterflies and their ecological significance are on offer. A booklet will soon be made available for primary schools with general butterfly information and fun activities.

Catchment groups will conduct comprehensive site surveys aiming to identify as many of Brisbane’s ca. 160 known butterfly species as possible, and looking at varying habitat types.

If you would like to be a part of Brisbane’s Big Butterfly Count and to keep up to date with the project, contact your local catchment group or visit the Brisbane’s Big Butterfly Count website and follow the Count on Facebook.


Check out these other great resources:




Healthy Land and Water is supportive of active citizen science projects like this one and is proud to see the community coming together to protect and preserve their local environments.


Brisbane City Council proudly supports this project through its grant program.


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