Philiris nitens (Grose-Smith, 1898)
Blue Moonbeam
(previously known as Holochila nitens)
LUCIINI ,   THECLINAE ,   LYCAENIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
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)

They feed on :

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

    The caterpillars 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
    male
    (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
    female
    (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.

    The species occurs as two subspecies :

  • nitens, and
  • lucina Waterhouse & Lyell, 1914,

    both in north Queensland.


    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),
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 58 (September 2010), pp. 9-14,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

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


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    (updated 24 June 2008)