Arhopala micale Blanchard, 1853
Shining Oak-blue
(previously known as Narathura micale)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Arhopala micale
(Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

The Caterpillars of this species are green with broad brown and narrow yellow lines along the back. There is a brown plate on the prothorax. The Caterpillars are attended by the green ants :

  • Citrus Ants ( Oecophylla smaragdina, FORMICINAE ).

    The caterpillars have been reported as feeding on the foliage of various trees including :

  • Lightwood ( Buchanania arborescens, ANACARDIACEAE ),
  • Bird Lime Tree ( Cordia dichotoma, BORAGINACEAE ),
  • Alexandrian Laurel ( Callophyllum inophyllum, CLUSIACEAE ),
  • West Indian Almond ( Terminalia muelleri, COMBRETACEAE ),
  • White Walnut ( Cryptocarya hypospodia, LAURACEAE ),
  • Queens Flower ( Lagerstroemia speciosa, LYTHRACEAE ),
  • Cottonwood ( Hibiscus tiliaceus , MALVACEAE ),
  • Lilly Pilly ( Acmena, MYRTACEAE ),
  • Cheese Tree ( Glochidion ferdinandi , PHYLLANTHACEAE ),
  • Carrotwood ( Cupaniopsis anacardioides, SAPINDACEAE ),
  • Mirror Mangrove ( Heritiera littoralis , STERCULIACEAE ), and
  • Buku ( Faradaya splendida, VERBENACEAE ).

    When not feeding, the caterpillars rest in a curled leaf or the entrance to the ants nest.

    Arhopala micale
    (Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

    The pupa is formed in similar situations. It is green with brown markings.

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

    On top, the males are an iridescent blue with narrow black margins.

    Arhopala micale
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The females are an iridescent greenish-blue. with a broad black border around the edges of the wings. Both adults have a short black tail at the tornus of each hindwing.

    Arhopala micale
    Female, underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    Underneath, both are brown with arcs of light and dark spots. The butterflies have a wingspan of about 4 cms.

    The eggs are pale blue and round. They are laid singly on young shoots of a foodplant that has a nest of the attendant ant species.

    The species is recognised as comprising about 16 sub-species found in

  • Indonesia,

    as well in Australia where it has been suggested that there are three races :

  • amphis Waterhouse, 1942, from around Mackay Queensland,
  • amytis (Hewitson, 1862) from Cape York, Queensland, and
  • amydon Waterhouse, 1942, from the Northern Territory,

    but later studies have shown that these may just be clinal variations.

    Arhopala micale
    (Courtesy of Mondelez Australia)
    Arhopala micale
    (Courtesy of Community Health & Anti-tuberculosis Association)

    Further reading :

    Emile Blanchard,
    Description des Insectes,
    Voyage au Pôle Sud et dans l'Océanie, sur les corvettes l'Astrolabe et la Zélée,
    Volume 4 (1853), p. 399, and also Plate 3, figs 11, 12.

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 690-691.

    William Chapman Hewitson,
    Specimen of a Catalogue of Lycaenidae in the British Museum,
    1862, p. 4, No. 16, and also Plate 2, figs. 7-9.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 20 December 2009, 23 December 2023)