(one synonym : Ialmenus myrsilus Westwood, 1851)
ZESIINI, THECLINAE, LYCAENIDAE, PAPILIONOIDEA
(Photo courtesy of Elaine McDonald, Tinderbox, Tasmania)
These Caterpillars are dark brown, with red, black and pale yellow markings, and a black head. They are always found in association with the venomous ants :
The caterpillars feed on various Wattles ( MIMOSACEAE ), including :
The caterpillars grow to a length of about 3 cms.
The pupa is shiny black, and develops under bark or in a crevice. It too is visited by ants. The pupal period was from January to the following December.
The male and female adults are similar, except that the wings of the female are more rounded. The fore and hind wings are black or dark brown on top, with a white margin, and an orange mark in the middle of each wing, The inner edge of the orange mark has a black border. The hindwings also each have scarlet border by the tail at the tornus.
The undersides are bluish grey, with each forewing marked by a black margin, black discal spot and a black outer line. The hind wings underneath have black markings and a scarlet border. The wingspan is about 3 cms.
The eggs are pale green, round and flattened, with a diameter of about 1 mm. They are usually laid in small groups (up to five) on twigs of a young foodplat.
A number of different races of this species have been recognised, occurring in small pockets in the south east corner of Australia, from New South Wales to Tasmania, including:
Further reading :
Michael F. Braby,
Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 732-734.
Charles Émile Blanchard,
Description des Insectes,
Voyage au Pôle Sud et dans l'Océanie sur les Corvettes l'Astrolabe et la Zélée,
Tome 4 (1853), pp. 401-402, and also Plate 3, figs. 15-18.
(updated 6 May 2009, 23 November 2013)