Philiris nitens (Grose-Smith, 1898)
Blue Moonbeam
(previously known as Holochila nitens)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Philiris nitens
(Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

These Caterpillars are green with a cream dorsal line, cream mottling generally, and dense hairy sides.

Philiris nitens
(Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

The caterpillars have been found feeding on :

  • Little Cheese Tree ( Glochidion philippicum, PHYLLANTHACEAE ), and
  • Brown Macaranga ( Macaranga involucrata, EUPHORBIACEAE ).

    The caterpillar rests under a leaf near the base by a vein, where it is well camouflaged.

    Philiris nitens       Philiris nitens
    (Photos: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The pupa is green with a cream dorsal line and brown patches. Its length is about 1 cm. It is usually attached to the underside of a leaf of its foodplant.

    Philiris nitens
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The adult butterflies are brown on top, with a large coloured patch on each wing. For males, this patch is mainly an iridescent blue.

    Philiris nitens
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    For females, this patch is largely white.

    Philiris nitens
    male, underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    Underneath, both sexes are white with black dots around the tornus of each hindwing.

    Philiris nitens
    female, underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The butterflies have a wingspan of about 2 cms.

    Philiris nitens
    egg, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Walker, Cairns, Queensland)

    The eggs are spherical and blue, covered with a network of minute spiky ribs The eggs have a diameter of about 0.5 mm. They are laid singly on a leaf or stem of a foodplant.

    The species occurs in

  • north Queensland.

    Philiris nitens was previously thought to have two subspecies occurring in Australia. Those two subspecies are now recognised to be two separate species: Philiris nitens and Philiris lucina.

    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 684-685.

    Graham R. Forbes,
    Comparison of the immature stages of Philiris sappheira manskiei Ring and Olive, and P. nitens nitens (Grose-Smith) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae),
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 58 (September 2010), pp. 9-14.

    Henley Grose-Smith,
    Descriptions of new species of Oriental butterflies,
    Novitates Zoologicae,
    Volume 5, Part 1 (1898), p. 107, No. 11.

    Donald Peter Andrew Sands,
    Review of Australian Philiris Röber (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae), with notes on variation and descriptions of two new subspecies from Cape York peninsula,
    Australian Entomologist,
    Volume 42, Part 4 (2015), pp. 219-252.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 24 June 2008, 7 August 2020, 7 September 2021)