Rachelia extrusus (C. Felder & R. Felder, [1867])
Blue Flash Skipper
(one synonym : Protogenes affinis Mabille & Boullet, 1912)
TRAPEZITINAE ,   HESPERIIDAE ,   HESPERIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


drawing by Baron Cajetan & Rudolf Felder, listed as Eudamus extrusus,
Reise der Osterreichischen Fregatte Novara,
Band 2, Abtheilung 2, Part 3 (1867), Plate LXXII, fig. 13,
image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

These caterpillars feed on a form of:

  • Supplejack ( Flagellaria indica, COMMELINACEAE ).

    The caterpillars live individually each in a tubular shelter made from a curled leaf of the foodplant. The caterpillar is initially green turning brown in later instars, with white lines that later fragment into rows of white spots. The head is dark reddish brown with a dorsal cleft.

    The adults of this species are black with a metallic blue shading toward the base of each wing. The forewings each have several pale spots.


    underside, drawing by Baron Cajetan & Rudolf Felder, listed as Eudamus extrusus,
    Reise der Osterreichischen Fregatte Novara,
    Band 2, Abtheilung 2, Part 3 (1867), Plate LXXII, fig. 14,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    Underneath, the wings have white marks and orange patches on a dark brown background. The butterflies have a wingspan of about 3 cms.

    The eggs are laid singly on a the underside the edge of leaf of a foodplant, and are round and flattened with about 30 ribs. They are pink and have a diameter of about 1 mm.

    The species is found on

  • New Guinea,

    and in Australia on

  • Cape York in Queensland.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp 90-91.

    Baron Cajetan & Rudolf Felder,
    Zoologischer Theil: Lepidoptera,
    Reise der Osterreichischen Fregatte Novara,
    Band 2, Abtheilung 2, Part 3 (1867), pp. 510-511, No. 888, and also Plate 72, figs. 13, 14.

    Peter S. Valentine & Stephen J. Johnson,
    The life history and distribution of Rachelia extrusa (C. & R. Felder) (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae: Trapezitinae) in Australia,
    The Australian Entomologist,
    Volume 31, Part 1 (March 2004), pp. 29-36.


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    (updated 25 October 2009, 5 October 2013)