Ogyris amaryllis Hewitson, 1862
Amaryllis or Satin Azure
(one synonym : Ogyris catharina C. & R. Felder, 1865)
ARHOPALINI,   THECLINAE,   LYCAENIDAE,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Ogyris amaryllis
(Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

The egg of this species is mandarin shaped and dirty white, laid usually in small groups on the stems of a food plant. The Caterpillar is initially green and flattened with black clubbed setae. Later it becomes brown with obscure diagonal markings and some pale marks along the back. The caterpillars are usually attended by various species of ants.

Ogyris amaryllis
(Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

The caterpillar hides by day in a crevice on the tree with its foodplant, which may be one of various species of Mistletoe ( LORANTHACEAE ), including :

  • Gum Mistletoe ( Amyema bifurcata ),
  • Sheoak Mistletoe ( Amyema cambagei ),
  • Pincushion Mistletoe ( Amyema fitzgeraldii ),
  • Lucas' Mistletoe ( Amyema lucasii ),
  • Mackay Mistletoe ( Amyema mackayensis ),
  • Pale Leaved Mistletoe ( Amyema maidenii ),
  • Melaleuca Mistletoe ( Amyema melaleucae ),
  • Box Mistletoe ( Amyema miquelii ),
  • Wire-leaved Mistletoe ( Amyema preissii ),
  • Grey Mistletoe ( Amyema quandang ),
  • Christmas Mistletoe ( Amyema sanguinea ), and
  • Creeping Mistletoe ( Muellerina eucalyptoides ).

    Ogyris amaryllis       Ogyris amaryllis
    (Photos: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The pupa is brown, with a dark line along the back flanked by a paler region each side.

    Ogyris amaryllis
    female
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The adult butterflies upper surfaces are an iridescent blue with black margins.

    Ogyris amaryllis
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The margins are much narrower on the males.

    Ogyris amaryllis
    female, underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Todd Burrows, Gold Coast, Queensland)

    Underneath they have a complex black, and brown pattern, with a number of white bars under the costa of each forewing.

    Ogyris amaryllis
    male, underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The females also have have a number of red marks underneath. The red marks bear some resemblance to the red fruits of some of the mistletoe plants on which the eggs are laid. The butterflies have a wingspan of about 3.5 cms.

    Ogyris amaryllis
    female, underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    Confined to Casurina stands located mainly along waterways, the butterflies of this locally common species can be seen high up around the canopy. The species occurs over the whole of mainland Australia, as several races including:

  • hewitsoni Waterhouse, 1902, along the coast of Queensland,
  • amaryllis along the coast of New South Wales,
  • amata Waterhouse, 1934, in Australian Capital Territory,
  • parsonsi Angel, 1951, in South Australia,
  • meridionalis Bethune-Baker, 1905, over most of inland Australia, including Victoria, and South Australia, and Northern Territory.
  • Ogyris amaryllis
    male
    ( Australia Post, 1981)


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 699-701.

    William Chapman Hewitson,
    Lycaenidae,
    Specimen of a Catalogue of Lycaenidae in the British Museum,
    1862, p. 3, No. 11, and also Plate 1, figs. 5-6.


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    (updated 29 May 2012, 20 November 2013)