Hypolycaena danis (Felder & Felder, 1865)
Black & White Tit
(previously known as Myrina danis)
HYPOLYCAENINI ,   THECLINAE ,   LYCAENIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
( donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Hypolycaena danis
(Photo: courtesy of Mark Hopkinson)

This Caterpillar is off-white to reddish green, sometimes with red bands along the body, and is densely covered in short hairs.

Hypolycaena danis
(Photo: courtesy of Mark Hopkinson)

It is a pest on Orchids ( ORCHIDACEAE ), feeding on the flowers of, for example, the Australian natives :

  • Cooktown Orchid ( Dendrobium bigibbum ), and
  • Teatree Orchid ( Dendrobium canaliculatum ),

    as well as exotic orchids from the genera :

  • Vanda,
  • Cattleya,
  • Renanthera,
  • Phalaenopsis, and
  • Phalaenanthe.

    Hypolycaena danis
    (Photo: courtesy of Mark Hopkinson)

    The pupa is off-white, stout and flattish, held by the tail and central girdle to a stem of the foodplant. It and the caterpillar look remarkably like Orchid flower buds.

    Hypolycaena danis
    (Picture: courtesy of CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences)

    The adult butterflies have white wings with broad black margins. The margin of each hindwing has a blue edge containing black spots. Each hindwing has two tails at the tornus.

    Hypolycaena danis
    Female
    (Photo: courtesy of Martin Purvis)

    Underneath, the wings are similar, except the hindwing pale areas are yellowish. The butterflies have a wingspan of about 3 cms.

    Hypolycaena danis
    hatched eggshell
    (Photo: courtesy of Mark Hopkinson)

    The eggs are white, spherical, and knobbly. They are typically laid singly on flower petals.

    Various subspecies of this butterfly occur on

  • New Guinea,

    and the subspecies turneri (Waterhouse, 1903) occurs in north Queensland, including :

  • Cairns,
  • Cape York, and
  • Townsville.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 736-737.


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    (updated 1 September 2012, 11 November 2013)