Neolucia agricola (Westwood, [1851])
Fringed Blue
(previously known as Lucia agricola)
POLYOMMATINI,   POLYOMMATINAE,   LYCAENIDAE,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Neolucia agricola
(Photo: courtesy of R.P. Field, Museums Victoria)

This Caterpillar is green or brown with a thin dark dorsal stripe bordered by pink and white. It has a hairy tail and a hairy brown head. It is sometimes attended by the small black ants

  • Iridomyrmex species ( DOLICHODERINAE ).

    It feeds inside the flower buds of various FABACEAE including

  • Golden Pea ( Aotus ericoides ),,
  • Acute Daviesia ( Daviesia angulata ),
  • Stinkwood ( Jacksonia sternbergiana ), and
  • Bristly Bush Pea ( Pultenaea acerosa ).

    Neolucia agricola
    pupa
    (Photo: courtesy of R.Field, Museums Victoria)

    The pupa can be any colour from pink to dark brown, with darker spots and makings. Its length is about 0.7 cm. The pupa is sometimes formed attached to the foodplant, an sometimes in adjacent leaf litter on the ground.

    Neolucia agricola
    (Photo: courtesy of Nick Monaghan, Noosa, Queensland)

    The adults are brown on top with chequered margins. Underneath, they are pale brown. The underside of each forewing has a stripe and patches of darker brown outlined in black and white. The underside of each hindwing has a white flash and two black chevrons. The butterflies have a wing span of about 2 cms.

    Neolucia agricola
    showing underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Eileen Collins, Chiltern, Victoria)

    The eggs are white partly squashed spheres, covered in a complex array of dimples. The eggs have a diameter of about 0.5 mm. They are laid singly on a leaf or stem of a foodplant.

    Neolucia agricola
    egg, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Walker, Tallarook, Victoria)

    The species occurs as three recognised races:

  • agricola in
        Queensland, and New South Wales, and Victoria, and South Australia,
  • insulana Waterhouse & Lyell, 1914, in
        Tasmania, and
  • occidens Waterhouse & Lyell, 1914, in
        Western Australia.

    Neolucia agricola
    drawing by John O. Westwood, listed as Lucia agricola,
    Genera of Diurnal Lepidoptera, Volume 2 (1851), Plate LXXVI, fig. 4,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Ernst Mayr Library, Harvard University.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 818-820.

    John O. Westwood,
    Lycaenidae,
    Genera of Diurnal Lepidoptera,
    Volume 2 (1851), p. 496, No. 199, and also Plate 76, fig. 4.


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    (updated 19 September 2011, 21 September 2013, 5 August 2020, 8 September 2021)