Philiris fulgens (Grose-Smith & Kirby, 1897)
Purple Moonbeam
(previously known as Holochila fulgens)
LUCIINI ,   THECLINAE ,   LYCAENIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Philiris fulgens
(Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

These Caterpillars are green with a yellow dorsal line, and have dense hairs along the sides. They grow to a length of about 1.3 cms.

Philiris fulgens
(Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

They feed on various members of the Laurel family ( LAURACEAE ) including :

  • Murray's Laurel ( Cryptocarya murrayi ),
  • Brown Bollywood ( Litsea australis ), and
  • Blue Walnut ( Endiandra hypotephra ).

    The Caterpillars feed nocturnally, skeltonising the leaves. By day, they rest under a leaf.

    Philiris fulgens       Philiris fulgens
    (Photos: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    They pupate under a leaf. The pupa is green with a few orange markings and a brown dorsal patch. Its length is about 1 cm.

    Philiris fulgens
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    On top, the adult male butterflies of this species have metallic purplish-blue forewings with black wingtips, and metallic turquoise hindwings with a black margin.

    Philiris fulgens
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The adult female butterflies are similar, but have a more turquoise coloration, with wider black margins.

    Philiris fulgens
    male, underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    Underneath, they are both white, with two black dots at the tornus of each hindwing. The wingspan of the butterflies is about 2.5 cms.

    Philiris fulgens
    female, underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The eggs are dome shaped and white. They have a diameter of about 0.5 mm. They are laid singly on leaves of a foodplant.

    Various subspecies are found around

  • New Guinea.

    The subspecies kurandae Waterhouse, 1902, is found in Australia in

  • north Queensland


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 680-681.

    Henley Grose-Smith & William Forsell Kirby,
    Lycaenidae (Oriental) Holochila,
    Rhopalocera Exotica,
    Series 3, Volume 2 (1897), p. 8, No. 13, and also Plate 2, figs. 14-15.

    G.A. Wood,
    The early stages of Philiris fulgeus kurandae Waterhouse and Philiris diana papuana Wind and Clench (Lepidoptera:Lycaenidae),
    Australian Entomological Magazine,
    Volume 10 (1984), p. 6.


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    (updated 25 December 2009, 22 November 2013)