Candalides cyprotus (Olliff, 1886)
Pencilled Blue
(previously known as Chrysophanus cyprotus)
CANDALIDINI ,   POLYOMMATINAE ,   LYCAENIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Candalides cyprotus
(Photo: courtesy of Roger Grund, Butterfly Conservation South Australia Inc.)

This Caterpillar is green with pink and blue tubercles each having a black bristle. It feeds on various plants, including :

  • Smokebush ( Conospermum taxifolium, PROTEACEAE ),
  • Comb Grevillea ( Grevillea huegelii, PROTEACEAE ),
  • Grey Spider Flower ( Grevillea bracteosa, PROTEACEAE ),
  • Prickly Spider Flower ( Grevillea juniperina, PROTEACEAE ), and
  • Needlewood ( Hakea leucoptera, PROTEACEAE ), and also
  • Dogwood ( Jacksonia scoparia, FABACEAE ).

    The pupa is black with flanges each side of the abdomen, and has a length of about 1.3 cms. It may be found in the debris at the foot of the foodplant.

    Candalides cyprotus
    male
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The female adults are dark brown on top, with a large blue patch near the centre of each fore wing. The males are more uniformly purple over both fore and hind wings, with a black trident mark near the centre of each forewing. Underneath, they both are a pale fawn colour with arcs of brown carets and dots under both fore and hind wings. The butterflies have a wing span of about 3 cms.

    Candalides cyprotus
    male, underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The eggs are green, round, flattened, with microscopic knobbles. Their diameter is about 0.5 mm. They are laid singly on the buds or stalk of a foodplant.

    Males are known to 'hilltop' while females are more secretive in their habits. Populations are isolated, though common where they occur. The species occurs in the southern half of mainland Australia, from Perth to Brisbane, including the subspecies :

  • pallescens (Tite, 1963) in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales, and
  • cyprotus in Victoria, and South Australia, and Western Australia.

  • Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 762-763.


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    (updated 30 July 2009, 21 September 2013)