Theclinesthes miskini (T.P. Lucas, 1889)
Wattle Blue
POLYOMMATINI ,   POLYOMMATINAE ,   LYCAENIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Theclinesthes miskini
male
(Photo: courtesy of Martin Purvis, Sydney, New South Wales)

The Caterpillar of this species is dark green or brown, with a dark dorsal band, and faint pale diagonal streaks. and a pale brown head. It is sometimes accompamied by various species of black or green ants. It has a preference for feeding on young seedlings, particularly of such species as :

  • Stink bean ( Paraserianthes lophantha , FABACEAE ),
  • Yellow Pea Bush ( Sesbania cannabina, FABACEAE ),
  • Port Lincoln Wattle ( Acacia anceps, MIMOSACEAE ),
  • Golden Wattle ( Acacia pycnantha, MIMOSACEAE ),
  • Coobah ( Acacia salicina, MIMOSACEAE ),
  • Golden Wreath Wattle ( Acacia saligna, MIMOSACEAE ),
  • Kurara ( Acacia tetragonophylla, MIMOSACEAE ),
    as well as
  • Scrub Boonaree ( Alectryon diversifolius, SAPINDACEAE ).

    Theclinesthes miskini
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Museum Victoria)

    The adults are predominantly pale blue on top with narrow chequered margins.

    Theclinesthes miskini
    female
    (Photo: by Valda McLean, courtesy of Bob James, Sunshine Coast, Queensland)

    However, the females also have a broad black band around the margins, and a submarginal arc of white scalloped markings on the hind wings which end in a pair of black spots beside a short narrow tail. Underneath, the wings are fawn, with several arcs of white scalloped markings. The hind wings also each have the two black spots underneath. The butterflies have a wing span of about 2 cms.

    The eggs are disc-shaped, and pale green. They are laid singly on young shoots of a foodplant, often at the base of a leaf.

    The species is found as various races in :

  • Indonesia, and
  • New Guinea,

    and in Australia where the races found are :

  • arnoldi (Fruhstorfer, 1916) at the tip of Cape York,
  • eucalypti Sibatani & Grund, 1978, in much of the rest of Queensland,
  • miskini in the rest of Australia, including
  • Northern Territory,
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria, and
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.

  • Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 807-809.

    Thomas P. Lucas,
    On 34 new species of Australian Lepidoptera, with additional localities,
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland,
    Volume 6, Part 4 (1889), pp. 158-159, and also Plate 9, figs. 5-7.


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    (updated 21 September 2001, 22 November 2008, 23 November 2013)