Acrodipsas brisbanensis (Miskin, 1884)
Large Ant Blue
(previously known as Pseudodipsas brisbanensis)
LUCIINI,   THECLINAE,   LYCAENIDAE,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley

These Caterpillars appear to spend their lives entirely within a nest of a species of small black ants :

  • Coconut Ant ( Papyrius nitidus, DOLICHODERINAE ).

    The caterpillars are suspected of being carnivorous, feeding on the ant larvae.

    Acrodipsas
    female
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The adults of this species are brown, with small blue markings at the tornus of each hindwing. The female additionally has areas of iridescent blue on the upper surface of each wing. The undersides are fawn with arcs of spots parallel to the margins. The wing span is about 2 cms.

    Acrodipsas
    male
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The adult butterflies are difficult to catch, as they are inclined to fly high amongst the tree tops.

    Acrodipsas
    male, underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Martin Purvis, Blackheath, New South Wales)

    The eggs are shaped like partly squashed spheres, with minute polygonal ribs, and are white, turning yellow as hatching approaches, with a diameter of about 1.5 mm. They are laid singly on a leaf or stem of a foodplant.

    Acrodipsas
    egg, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Walker, Broadford, Victoria)

    Two races of the species have been recognised, although this splitting is controversial. They are found mainly along the eastern coastal region of Australia, as the two races

  • brisbanensis, and
  • cyrilus (Anderson & Spry, 1897).

    found in

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.

    Acrodipsas brisbanensis has been described as an Endangered Species in Victoria.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 629-631.

    William Henry Miskin,
    Descriptions of new Australian Rhopalocera,
    Transactions of the Entomological Society of London,
    Volume 32, Part 1 (1884), p. 95.


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    (updated 11 July 2004, 20 September 2013, 5 September 2021)