Jalmenus icilius Hewitson, [1865]
Icilius Blue
(one synonym : Ialmenus aeneus Tepper, 1882)
ZESIINI ,   THECLINAE ,   LYCAENIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


Male
(Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

These Caterpillars are green mottled with brown, with a broad dark dorsal band, and black and white diagonal lines on each segment. The caterpillars have a grey thorax, and there are pairs of tubercles on the thorax and the tail.

The caterpillars are always attended by the small black ants :

  • Iridomyrmex rufoniger ( DOLICHODERINAE ).

    The caterpillars have been known to feed on a variety of plants, such as :

  • Punty ( Cassia nemophila, CAESALPINIACEAE ),
  • Spiny Bitterpea ( Daviesia benthamii, FABACEAE ), and
  • Raspberry Jam Wattle ( Acacia acuminata, MIMOSACEAE ).

    The caterpillar usually pupates in the debris at the base of the foodplant. The pupa is fawn with dark brown markings. It has a length of about 1 cm.

    The adult male and female butterflies look very similar. On top, they are basically dark brown, with a blue iridescent sheen. The females are rather bluer. The trailing edge of each hindwing has a pair of short tails. Beside one tail is a small black eyespot.


    (Photo: copyright of Brett and Marie Smith, Ellura Sanctuary, South Australia)

    Underneath: the butterflies are fawn with faint bands of white-edged darker spots running across the wings. The hindwings each have two black and orange eyespots with black marks between them. The butterflies have a wingspan of about 3 cms.


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

    The eggs are round and flattened with a diameter of about 0.5 mm. They are pale blue and laid in clusters on a foodplant.

    The species occurs across most of mainland Australia, including

  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 728-729.

    William Chapman Hewitson,
    Lycaenidae,
    Illustrations of Diurnal Lepidoptera,
    London, Volume 2 (1865), p. 54, No. 4, and also Plate 24, fig. 3.


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    (updated 11 July 2004, 21 September 2013, 1 January 2015)