Paralucia aurifer (Blanchard, [1848])
Bright Copper
(previously known as Thecla aurifer)
LUCIINI ,   THECLINAE ,   LYCAENIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Photo: courtesy of P. and M. Coupar, Museum Victoria)

This Caterpillar is green, brown or grey, with a dark dorsal stripe and diagonal markings. It has a black head, prothorax and tail. The caterpillar can evert a pair of tentacles from the tail. The Caterpillar is always attended by :

  • Black Ants ( Anonychomyrma nitidiceps, DOLICHODERINAE ).

    The caterpillar feeds nocturnally on :

  • Sweet Bursaria ( Bursaria spinosa, PITTOSPORACEAE ), and
  • Orange Thorn ( Pittosporum multiflorus, PITTOSPORACEAE ).

    By day, the caterpillar typically hides in an ants nest at the foot of the food tree.

    The caterpillar also pupates in the ants nest.


    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Martin Purvis, Ingleburn, New South Wales)

    The adults are dark brown on top with a purple sheen, and have a yellow patch on each wing, and an arc of blue dashes along the rear wing margins. Underneath, they are pale brown, with a number of outlined fawn patches.


    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Martin Purvis, Ingleburn, New South Wales)

    The wings of the males are rather pointed and the wings of the females rounded; at the apex and tornus. The butterflies have a wing span of about 3 cms.


    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Martin Purvis, Ingleburn, New South Wales)

    Restricted to bushland where its spiny foodplant is not cleared, this shy little copper is usually only seen within the vicinity of the host. The species occurs in

  • southern Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria,
  • South Australia, and
  • Tasmania.


    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Martin Purvis, Ingleburn, New South Wales)


    Further reading :

    Emile Blanchard,
    Description des Insectes,
    Voyage au Pôle Sud et dans l'Océanie, sur les corvettes "l'Astrolabe",
    Volume 4 (1853), pp. 400-401.

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 644-646.


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    (updated 25 December 2009, 22 November 2013)