Acrodipsas cuprea (Sands, 1965)
Copper Ant Blue
(previously known as Pseudodipsas cuprea)
LUCIINI ,   THECLINAE ,   LYCAENIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

These Caterpillars live and feed in the nests of the ants :

  • Acrobat Ants ( Crematogaster, MYRMICINAE ).

    Initially the ants feed the young Caterpillars. Later, the Caterpillars attack and eat the ant larvae. The Caterpillars are off-white and narrow. They have a black head and a brown prothorax.


    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The adults of this species are coppery brown, with areas of iridescent blue on the upper surface of each wing. There are one large and two small black spots by the tornus of each hind wing. The undersides are fawn with arcs of fawn spots parallel to the margins. The black spots on the tornus of each hind wing are repeated underneath, but there have orange borders. The wing span is about 2 cms.

    The eggs of this species are white and laid in groups of two or three on tree trunks used by the host ants. The ants collect the eggs and take them to their nest.


    underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The species has been found in

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


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 631-632.

    Rod Eastwood & Jane Hughes,
    Phylogeography of the rare myrmecophagous butterfly Acrodipsas cuprea (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) from pinned museum specimens,
    Australian Journal of Zoology,
    Volume 51, Part 4 (2003), pp. 331-340.

    Donald Peter Andrew Sands,
    A New Species of Acrodipsas Sands (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) from Southern New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory,
    Australian Journal of Entomology,
    Volume 36, Issue 4 (December 1997), pp. 339344.


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    (updated 15 February 2005, 18 August 2017)