Ogyris olane (Hewitson, 1862)
Dull Purple or Broad-margined Azure
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Ogyris olane
(Specimen: courtesy of Cleve Herd and Martin Lagerwey West Wyalong, New South Wales)

This Caterpillar is flat and pinkish-brown with dark markings. It hides by day, and feeds nocturnally on Mistletoes (LORANTHACEAE) such as :

  • Box Mistletoe ( Amyena miquelii ), and
  • Drooping Mistletoe ( Amyema pendulum ),

    which are parasitic on

  • Gum ( Eucalyptus, MYRTACEAE ).

    The caterpillars are often attended by various species of ants.

    Ogyris olane
    (Photo: courtesy of R.P. Field, Museum Victoria)

    The pupa is mottled brown with a dark line along the back. Its length is about 1.5 cms. It is formed in a crevice often some distance from the foodplant. It is unusual in that it can make clicking noises.

    Ogyris olane
    male, digitally repaired
    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

    The male and female adults are quite similar, They are both purple on top with broad black wing margins, but the female has a bluer tinge, and more rounded wing-tips.

    Ogyris olane
    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

    Underneath, the forewings are dark brown, with white lines emanating from the costa. The hindwings have a complex brown pattern. The butterflies have a wing span of about 4 cms.

    Ogyris olane
    (Photo: courtesy of Cathy Powers, Brisbane Ranges, Victoria)

    Widespread but very local, adults are sighted flying around the tops of eucalypts which support their host. As with all Ogyris, the usual way to obtain adults is to collect larvae and pupae, as the adult butterflies do not feed from flowers, or descend to ground level.

    Ogyris olane
    egg, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Walker, Murrurundi, New South Wales)

    The eggs of this species are dark brown, flattened, and round, each with about 100 hexagonal dimples. The eggs a diameter just under 1 mm. They are laid in ones or twos on a foodplant.

    The species occurs over most of the eastern half of Australia, including

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria, and also
  • South Australia.

    Various races have been proposed :

  • ocela Waterhouse, 1934, and
  • olane,
    but more recent studies have indicated that the observed variations may be only a cline.

    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 696-698.

    William Chapman Hewitson,
    Specimen of a Catalogue of Lycaenidae in the British Museum,
    1862, p. 2, No. 10, and also Plate 1, figs. 10-11.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 14 July 2004, 22 November 2013, 24 August 2020, 10 September 2021)