(previously known as Virachola democles)
DEUDORIGINI, THECLINAE, LYCAENIDAE, PAPILIONOIDEA
found at Chillagoe, Queensland.
(Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)
These Caterpillars are flattened and green or brown, with six black spots on the prothorax and metathorax, and dark marks on the first three abdominal segments.
The caterpillars feed inside the seeds in the fruits of the trees :
The caterpillars pupate within the emptied seed case, attaching it to the tree so that it does not fall to the ground. The pupa is smooth and pinkish-brown with dark markings.
The adult butterflies on top are iridescent blue with a wide black margin. The females have an additional white patch on each forewing.
Underneath: both sexes are pale brown with a darker brown margin and subterminal arc darker blobs on each wing. The hindwings each have a lobe and a tail by the tornus, adjacent to which is a black spot. The females are larger: the males have a wingspan of about 3 cms. The females have a wingspan of about 4 cms.
The eggs are white, round and flattened, with a diameter of about 1 mm. They are laid singly on fruits of the foodplant.
This species is found in
and occurs widely throughout the Cape York Peninsula south to Undara Crater.
The riparian thickets along the lagoon and stream edges include dense stands of Strychnos lucida. The fruits on these trees support a large population of the butterfly.
Further reading :
Michael F. Braby,
Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 744-745.
William Henry Miskin,
Descriptions of new Australian Rhopalocera,
Transactions of the Entomological Society of London,
1884, pp. 95-96.
(updated 22 June 2008, 2 November 2013, 2 August 2020)