Anthene lycaenoides (C. Felder 1860)
Pale Ciliate Blue
(previously known as Dipsas lycaenoides)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Anthene lycaenoides
(Photo: courtesy of Graeme Cocks, Townsville, Queensland)

This Caterpillar can be any colour, from yellow through green to purple, depending on the colour of the flower buds it is eating. It often has a pale sub-dorsal bands. It has been found feeding on a the flower buds of a wide variety of Australian native and introduced plants, including :

  • Golden Shower ( Cassia fistula, CAESALPINIACEAE ),
  • Supplejack ( Flagellaria indica, COMMELINACEAE ),
  • Pop-gun Seed ( Bridelia tomentosa, EUPHORBIACEAE ),
  • Pongam ( Pongamia pinnata, FABACEAE ),
  • Lolly Bush ( Clerodendrum floribundum, LAMIACEAE ),
  • Timor Liana ( Rhyssopterys timorensis, MALPIGHIACEAE ), and
  • Carrotwood ( Cupaniopsis anacardioides, SAPINDACEAE ).

    The caterpillars are often attended by ants of a variety of species, including :

  • Citrus Ants ( Oecophylla smaragdina, FORMICINAE ),
  • Acrobat Ants ( Crematogaster, MYRMICINAE ),
  • Black Ants ( Iridomyrmex anceps, DOLICHODERINAE ), and
  • Rusty Trapdoor Ants ( Odontomachus ruficeps, PONERINAE ).

    Anthene lycaenoides
    (Photo: courtesy of Mark Hopkinson)

    The pupa is green with a yellow line along the back. Its length is about 1 cm. It is formed typically on top a foodplant leaf, and held by the tail and a girdle.

    Anthene lycaenoides
    (Picture: courtesy of CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences)

    The adult male butterflies are lilac on top, whereas the females are brown with lilac toward the base of each wing, and have a white patch in the middle of each forewing. Both sexes have a small tail at the tornus of each hindwing. Underneath, both sexes are fawn with arcs of darker markings, and an orange-edged black spot by the hindwing tail. The butterflies have a wingspan of about 2.5 cms.

    Anthene lycaenoides
    (Photo: courtesy of John Lahey, Brisbane, Queensland)

    The eggs are blue turning white, and are round, flattened and pitted. They are laid singly on flower buds or young shoots of a foodplant.

    Anthene lycaenoides
    (Photo: courtesy of John Lahey, Brisbane, Queensland)

    Various subspecies are found in

  • Indonesia,
  • Malaysia, and
  • Thailand,

    The subspecies godeffroyi (Semper, [1879]) is found in Australia in

  • Western Australia,
  • Northern Territory, and
  • Queensland.

    Anthene lycaenoides
    (Photo: courtesy of Graeme Cocks, Townsville, Queensland)

    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 752-753.

    Baron Cajetan von Felder,
    Lepidopterorum Amboienensium species novae diagnosibus,
    Sitzungsberichte der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Classe,
    Volume 40, Series 11 (1860), p. 454, No. 21.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 28 September 2010, 7 October 2013, 20 May 2015)