Candalides heathi (Cox, 1873)
Rayed Blue
(one synonym : Lycaena paradoxa Guest, 1882)
CANDALIDINI ,   POLYOMMATINAE ,   LYCAENIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Candalides heathi
(Photo: courtesy of Martin Purvis, taken at Ingleburn, Sydney)

This Caterpillar is green with dense white hairs, and six reddish nobs on its back. It is usually attended by a number of black ants. It hides by day, and feeds by night on a variety of plants including :

  • Emu Bush, ( Eremophila longifolia, MYOPORACEAE ),
  • Plantains ( Plantago, PLANTAGINACEAE ),
  • Derwent Speedwell ( Derwentia derwentiana, SCROPHULARIACEAE ), and
  • Riceflower ( Pimelea, THYMELAEACEAE ).

    The Caterpillars grow to a length of about 1.5 cms. The pupa is brown and rough, with a length of about 1 cm. It is formed either on the foodplant or in the ground debris nearby.

    The adults are pale brown on top, with a purple sheen. Underneath, they are white with a row of black dots along the wing margins. The butterflies have a wing span of about 3 cms.

    Candalides heathi
    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Martin Purvis, taken at Ingleburn, Sydney)

    The eggs are pale green, round, rough, and flattened. They have a diameter of about 0.8 mm. They are laid singly usually in the axil of a leaf.

    The butterfly is more often encountered in the open fields than the dense forest. It prefers to remain close to the ground. The species occurs over the southern half of Australia, including

  • Northern Territory,
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria, ad
  • South Australia,

    as two races:

  • alpina, and
  • heathi.

  • Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 772-774.


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    (updated 10 september 2009, 1 November 2013)