Philiris innotatus (Miskin, 1874)
Purple Moonbeam
(previously known as Pseudodipsas innotatus)
LUCIINI,   THECLINAE,   LYCAENIDAE,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Philiris innotatus
(Specimen: courtesy of Helen Schwencke)

This Caterpillar comes from an egg that is white, round, flattened, and deeply pitted, with short spines. The eggs have a diameter of about 0.6 mm. They are laid singly on the underside of leaves of foodplants.

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

The caterpillar itself is green with a pale yellow dorsal line. It is hairy, rather like the stems and leaves of its foodplants. It feeds on the foliage of various fig trees ( MORACEAE ), including

  • Banyan ( Ficus benghalensis ),
  • Common Fig ( Ficus carica ),
  • Red-leaf Fig ( Ficus congesta ),
  • Sandpaper Fig ( Ficus coronata ), and
  • Rough Leaved Fig ( Ficus opposita ).

    The caterpillar feeds on the underside of a leaf, leaving the upper surface intact. This turns white in due course, which can be a handy guide to locating the Caterpillars. The caterpillars are sometimes attended by ants of various species.

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

    The pupa is green with brown patches. It is attached to the underside of a foodplant leaf. The pupa has a length of about 1 cm.

    Philiris innotatus
    female
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    On top: the female adult butterflies are iridescent blue with a wide black border around each wing.

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

    The male butterflies are purple with narrower black borders than the females.

    Philiris innotatus
    female, Underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)<

    Underneath: they are a silky grey, with a number of small black spots on each hindwing: three along the tornus, and one on the hind margin.

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

    The species occurs in

  • New Guinea,

    and in Australia in

  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland, and
  • New South Wales.

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


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 683-684.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp 81-82.

    William Henry Miskin,
    Descriptions of new species of Australian diurnal Lepidoptera, Entomologist's Monthly Magazine,
    Volume 11 (1874), p. 165.

    Frank Jordan & Helen Schwencke,
    Create More Butterflies : a guide to 48 butterflies and their host-plants
    Earthling Enterprises, Brisbane, 2005, pp. 36, 63.


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    (updated 24 June 2008, 22 November 2013)