Eirmocides margarita (Semper, [1879])
Trident Pencil-blue
(previously known as Candalides margarita)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Eirmocides margarita
(Photo: courtesy of Todd Burrows, South Stradbroke Island, Queensland)

These Caterpillars can be green or pink or brown, sometimes with brown dorsal markings. They have a prominent dorsal ridge and a hump at the thorax. They feed on the young shoots and flowers of various species of Mistletoe ( LORANTHACEAE ), for example :

  • Erect Mistletoe ( Amyema congener ),
  • Box Mistletoe ( Amyema miquelii ),
  • Common Mistletoe ( Amyema conspicua ),
  • Brush Mistletoe ( Amylotheca dictyophleba ),
  • Shiny-leaved Mistletoe ( Benthamina alyxifolia ),
  • Signal Mistletoe ( Decaisnina signata ),
  • Curved Mistletoe ( Dendrophthoe curvata ),
  • Long Flowered Mistletoe ( Dendrophthoe vitellina ), and
  • Coast Mistletoe ( Muellerina celastroides ).

    They attended by the small black ants :

  • Technomyrmex sophiae ( DOLICHODERINAE ).

    Eirmocides margarita
    (Photo: courtesy of Todd Burrows, South Stradbroke Island, Queensland)

    The pupa is smooth and brown with a white dorsal line, and has curled flanges on the abdomen. It is attached to a foodplant leaf by anal hooks and a girdle.

    Eirmocides margarita
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The female butterflies of this species are black with a large white patch on each wing, and a faint metallic blue suffusion toward the base. The males are plain dull blue.

    Eirmocides margarita
    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

    Underneath, both sexes are white with arcs of brown dashes and black dots. The butterflies have a wingspan of about 3 cms.

    Eirmocides margarita
    Female, underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The eggs are hemispherical with a flat projecting 'chimney' on top. The eggs are pale yellow, and the surface covered with a hexagonal network of white ribs. The eggs have a diameter of about 1 mm. They are laid singly on a leaf or stem of a foodplant.

    Eirmocides margarita
    egg, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Walker, Darwin, Northern Territory))

    The species exists as the race gilberti Waterhouse, 1903, In

  • the north of Western Australia,
  • the Northern Territory, and
  • Queensland.

    and margarita in

  • Queensland, and
  • New South Wales.

    Eirmocides margarita
    showing underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Nick Monaghan, Lake MacDonald, Queensland)

    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 756-757.

    Gorg Semper,
    Beitrag zur Rhopalocerenfauna von Australien,
    Journal des Museum Godeffroy,
    Volume 5, Heft 14 (1879) pp. 161-162, No. 75.

    Gustavus Athol Waterhouse,
    Notes on Australian Rhopalocera : Lycaenidae, part 3,
    Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales,
    Volume 28, Part 1 (1903), pp. 181-182.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 22 March 2011, 23 December 2023)