Hypochrysops cyane (Waterhouse & Lyell, 1914)
Cyane Jewel
(previously known as Miletus cyane)
LUCIINI ,   THECLINAE ,   LYCAENIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Hypochrysops cyane
brown form
(Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

These Caterpillars are green or brown with a dark brown band along the back, and sparse white hairs along the sides.

Hypochrysops cyane
(Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

The caterpillars are attended always by the small black ants from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolichoderinae>DOLICHODERINAE such as

  • Anonychomyrma itinerans, or
  • Anonychomyrma gilberti,

    which typically nest on the same tree that the caterpillars are on.

    Hypochrysops cyane
    green form
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The caterpillars have been found feeding on the foliage of a variety of plants, including :

  • Terminalia subacroptera ( COMBRETACEAE ),
  • Box Mistletoe ( Amyema miquelii, LORANTHACEAE ),
  • Acacia humifusa ( MIMOSACEAE ),
  • Sydney Red Gum ( Angophora costata, MYRTACEAE ), and
  • Alphitonia obtusifolia ( RHAMNACEAE ),

    initially feeding communally and sketetonising the leaves. Later the caterpillars separate and feed on the leaves nocturnally. By day they hide in crevices on the tree.

    Hypochrysops cyane       Hypochrysops cyane
    (Photos: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    They pupate in a nest of their attendant ants. The pupa is mottled brown, and has a length of about 1.3 cms.

    Hypochrysops cyane
    male
    (Picture: courtesy of CSIRO Entomology)

    The adult male butterflies on top are purple and the females blue. The females also have a large black area at the tips of each forewing.

    Hypochrysops cyane
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    Underneath, both sexes are pale brown with arcs of orange dashes outlined in metallic green. The undersides of the forewings also each have two or three black spots. The butterflies have a wingspan of about 3 cms.

    The Caterpillars hatch from small clusters of white spherical minutely spined eggs, laid on leaves, stalks, or bark of a foodplant.

    This species is found in

  • Queensland, and
  • New South Wales.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 673-674.

    Gustavus Athol Waterhouse & George Lyell,
    The Butterflies of Australia,
    Angus & Robertson, 1914, Sydney, p. 90, No. 115.


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    (updated 4 November 2013)