Ogyris oroetes (Hewitson, 1862)
Silky Azure
ARHOPALINI ,   THECLINAE ,   LYCAENIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Ogyris oroetes
Male
(Photo: courtesy of Roger Grund, Butterfly Conservation South Australia Inc.)

This species is presumably named after the Oroetes, Persian Govenor of Sardis, referred to by Herodotus as the murderer of Polycrates, around 500 BC.

The Caterpillar is grey, furry and flat. It feeds on various species of Mistletoe ( LORANTHACEAE ) including :

  • Gum Mistletoe ( Amyema bifurcata ),
  • Box Mistletoe ( Amyema miquelii ), and
  • Drooping Mistletoe ( Amyema pendula ).

    which are a parasitic on:

  • Gum ( Eucalyptus, MYRTACEAE ).

    The early instars feed by day, but later instars feed nocturnally, sheltering by day under loose bark or in ground debris. The Caterpillars are usually attended by various species of ants from the subfamilies :

  • DOLICHODERINAE,
  • FORMICINAE,
  • MYRMICINAE, and
  • PSEUDOMYRMECINAE.

    Ogyris oroetes       Ogyris oroetes
    (Photos: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The pupa is brown with dark markings, and has a length of about 1.3 cms. Pupation typically occurs in situations like the larval shelter.

    Ogyris oroetes
    male
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    On top, the adults are a metallic blue, with the males tending towards lilac, and the females having black margins.

    Ogyris oroetes
    female
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    Underneath: the wings are a blotchy fawn, and the fore wings each have a series of black and white stripes under the leading edge.

    Ogyris oroetes
    male, underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The adult butterflies have a wingspan of 3 to 4 cms.

    Ogyris oroetes
    female, underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The eggs are grey round and flattened, with a diameter of about 0.8 mm. They are usually laid singly on leaves of fooidplants.

    The species occurs over much of mainland Australia as two races

  • oroetes in Queensland and New South Wales, and
  • apiculata Quick, 1972, in the rest of the mainland.

  • Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 695-696.

    William Chapman Hewitson,
    Specimen of a Catalogue of Lycaenidae in the British Museum,
    1862, p. 3, No. 12, and also Plate 1, figs. 12-13.


    previous
    back
    caterpillar
    Australian
    Australian Butterflies
    butterflies
    Australian
    home
    caterpillars
    Australian
    Australian Moths
    moths
    next
    next
    caterpillar

    (updated 18 June 2008, 20 September 2013)