(previously known as Polyommatus limbaria)
LUCIINI, THECLINAE, LYCAENIDAE, PAPILIONOIDEA
Photo: by Lindsay Hunt, from
Attracting Butterflies to Your Garden : What to Grow and Conserve in the Adelaide Region,
published by Butterfly Conservation South Australia Inc.
This Caterpillar is green and hairy, with a number of dark longitudinal stripes. It has a black plate on the thorax and on the last abdominal segment. It is usually attended by numerous small black ants of the species :
both in DOLICHODERINAE.
The caterpillar feeds on various species of Oxalis ( OXALIDACEAE ), including :
Initially it just eats the surface of a leaf, but later instars eat the whole leaf. When not feeding, the caterpillar hides in an ants' nest chamber in the soil at the base of the foodplant. The caterpillar grows to a length of about 2 cms.
The pupa is initially green, changing to brown as it matures. Its length is about 1 cm. It is formed in the ants' nest.
The adults are brown on top with chequered margins. Each fore wing also has a large yellow patch and two black spots.
Underneath, the forewings are yellow and the hind wings are pale brown, both with arcs of darker brown spots outlined in white. The butterflies have a wing span of about 3 cms.
The eggs are pale green and mandarin-shaped. They are laid in groups of a dozen or more and covered in scales. They are usually laid on the upper surface of a lower leaf of a foodplant.
The species has been found in
Further reading :
Andrew Atkins, John Moss,
Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club
Newsletter, Issue 48 (March 2008), pp. 1, 4-8.
Michael F. Braby,
Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 627-628.
Murdoch de Baar,
Lucia limbaria, the Chequered Copper, some extra notes,
Issue 50 (September 2008), pp. 10-11,
Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.
Life History Notes on the Grassland or Chequered Copper, Lucia linbaria: Lycaenidae,
Butterfly and Other Invertebrates Club Newslettter, Issue 49 (June 2008), pp. 14-17.
William John Swainson,
Series 2, Volume 3, Part 29 (1833), p. 135, and also Plate 135.
(updated 23 February 2011, 20 September 2013)