Theclinesthes miskini (T.P. Lucas, 1889)
Wattle Blue
POLYOMMATINI,   POLYOMMATINAE,   LYCAENIDAE,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.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
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

    The adults are predominantly pale blue on top with narrow chequered margins. However, the females also have a broad black band around the margins, and a submarginal arc of white scalloped markings on the hindwings which end in a pair of black spots beside a short narrow tail.

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

    Underneath, the wings are fawn, with several arcs of white scalloped markings. The hindwings also each have the two black spots underneath. The butterflies have a wing span of about 2 cms.

    Theclinesthes miskini
    egg, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Walker, Titjikala, Northern Territory)

    The eggs are disc-shaped, and pale green, with a complex microscopic surface structure. Their diameter is about 5 mms. 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 :

  • 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, 10 August 2020)