Ogyris idmo Hewitson, 1862
Large Brown Azure
ARHOPALINI,   THECLINAE,   LYCAENIDAE,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley


female
(Picture: courtesy of CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences)

This Caterpillar is off-white, flattened, and corrugated. It has a dark head, and is sparsely covered in stiff hairs. It lives in the nests of various species of Sugar Ants (FORMICINAE), including :

  • Camponotus nigriceps, and
  • Camponotus terebrans.

    feeding on Mistletoe (LORANTHACEAE), or if a bushfire destroys its foodplant, then being fed by the ants, or even feeding on immature ants, in the nest it inhabits.

    The pupa is pale brown with a length of about 2.5 cms. It is formed in the host ants nest.


    male
    (Picture: courtesy of CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences)

    The male and female adults have different upper surfaces. The male is plain dark brown with a purple iridescence. The female is bright iridescent blue with broad black margins, and with a white spot near the tip of each forewing.


    underside
    (Picture: from "Illustrations of diurnal Lepidoptera, Lycnid", Volume II, John van Voorst, London)

    Underneath, they are both pale brown, with dark brown splotches, and with a set of black and white bars at the base of each forewing. Both sexes have black and white chequered margins to the wings. The butterflies have a wing-span of about 5 cms.

    The eggs are white and round with a diameter of about 1 mm. They are laid singly near the entrance of a suitable ants nest.

    The species lives in

  • Victoria,
  • South Australia, and
  • south of Western Australia.

    A number of races have been proposed, including :

  • orontas Hewitson, 1862,
  • waterhouseri Bethune-Baker, 1905,
  • halmaturia Tepper, 1890, in Victoria and South Australia, and
  • idmo in Western Australia,

    although it has been suggested that the observed variations are more due to environmental factors than to inherited racial characteristics.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 712-714.

    William Chapman Hewitson,
    Lycaenidae,
    Specimen of a Catalogue of Lycaenidae in the British Museum,
    1862, p. 2, No. 3, and also Plate 1, figs. 3-4.


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    (updated 19 November 2012, 22 November 2013, 2 August 2020)