Illidge's Ant Blue
(previously known as Pseudodipsas illidgei)
LUCIINI, THECLINAE, LYCAENIDAE, PAPILIONOIDEA
(Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)
These Caterpillars are white, and feed on ant larvae while living in the nests of the small black ants :
The pupa is brown, with a length of about 1 cm. It is formed inside the ant nest, near an exit hole.
The adults of this species are brown, with the females having areas of iridescent blue on the upper surface of each wing. The undersides of both sexes are fawn with arcs of darker spots parallel to the margins. The wingspan is about 2 cms.
The eggs are white and shaped like a mandarin orange. They have a diameter of about 0.7 mm. They are laid in small clusters of up to two dozen on the trunk of a tree colonised by their host ant species. Upon hatching, the young Caterpillars are carried by the ants into their nest.
The species has been listed as endangered, and is found in
Further reading :
Issue 24, Oct-Dec 1991, pp. 48-51.
Michael F. Braby,
Butterflies of Australia,
CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 636-637.
Gustavus Athol Waterhouse & George Lyell,
The Butterflies of Australia,
Angus & Robertson, 1914, Sydney, p. 83, No. 102b.
(updated 29 August 2005, 30 October 2013)