Hypochrysops miskini (Waterhouse, 1903)
Coral Jewel
(previously known as Miletus miskini)
LUCIINI ,   THECLINAE ,   LYCAENIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Hypochrysops miskini
(Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

These Caterpillars are brown, with a broad line along the back that is generally black, except it is white on abdominal segments 1,2,6, and 7. The caterpillars have been found feeding on a wide variety of plants, including :

  • Australian Native Lasiandra ( Melastoma affine, MELASTOMATACEAE ),
  • Tetra Beech ( Tetrasynandra pubescens, MONIMIACEAE ),
  • Brush Box ( Lophostemon confertus, MYRTACEAE ),
  • Harvey's Buttonwood ( Glochidion harveyanum, PHYLLANTHACEAE ),
  • Walking Vine ( Maesa dependens, PRIMULACEAE ),
  • Northern Guioa ( Guioa acutifolia, SAPINDACEAE ),
  • Barbed Wire Bush ( Smilax australis , SMILACACEAE ),
  • Brown Kurrajong ( Commersonia bartramia, STERCULIACEAE ), and
  • Buku, ( Faradaya splendida, VERBENACEAE ).

    Hypochrysops miskini
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The caterpillars feed nocturnally, hiding by day in a curled leaf or in debris at the foot of the foodplant. They are always attended by the small black ants :

  • Anonychomyrma gilberti ( DOLICHODERINAE ).

    Hypochrysops miskini       Hypochrysops miskini
    (Photos: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The caterpillars pupate in a curled leaf or under debris at the foot of the foodplant. The pupa is pale brown speckled with dark brown, and has a length of about 1.5 cms.

    Hypochrysops miskini
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The adult male butterflies have wings that on top are purple with black margins.

    Hypochrysops miskini
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The females are light blue with broad dark margins.

    Hypochrysops miskini
    male, underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The undersides are grey with rows of overlapping orange spots outlined with metallic green. The wingspan is about 3 cms.

    Hypochrysops miskini
    female, underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The eggs are white and flattened, with a width of about 1 mm. They are usually laid in small groups of one to five on the underside a leaf of a foodplant.

    Hypochrysops miskini
    female, underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The species is found in Queensland.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 657-658.

    Gustavus Athol Waterhouse,
    Notes on Australian Rhopalocera : Lycaenidae, 3,
    Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales,
    Volume 28, Part 1 (1903), p. 164, and also Plate 3, figs. 30, 31.


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    (updated 9 December 2009, 11 November 2013)