Jamides phaseli (Mathew, 1889)
Purple Cerulean
(previously known as Lampides phaseli)
POLYOMMATINI,   POLYOMMATINAE,   LYCAENIDAE,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Jamides phaseli
(Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

These Caterpillars are corrugated, and initially green. They later become brown, sometimes with dark stripes along the body.

Jamides phaseli
(Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

They feed on the flowerbuds and flowers of various FABACEAE, including especially :

  • Beans ( Phaseolus vulgaris ),
  • Pongam ( Pongamia pinnata ),
  • Bay Bean ( Canavalia rosea ),
  • Forest Indigo ( Indigofera pratensis ), and
  • Tossa Jute ( Cajanus reticulatus ).

    The caterpillars are often accompanied by small black ants. The caterpillars grow to a length of about 1 cm.

    Jamides phaseli
    (Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

    The males are deep blue on top with a black margin. Each hindwing has a series of spots along the rear margin, including a prominent black one at the tornus. They have a wingspan of about 2.5 cms.

    Jamides phaseli
    (Photo: courtesy of Nick Monaghan, Broadbeach, Queensland)

    The females are similar but are paler with a wider black margin, and are slightly larger than the males. Both sexes have a small tail on each hind wing.

    Jamides phaseli
    Male upper surface
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    Underneath, both sexes are fawn with several arcs of white dashes. Each hind wing has an orange-edged black spot near the tornus.

    Jamides phaseli
    Female upper surface
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The eggs are round white and flattened, and typically laid on flower buds of a food plant.

    Jamides phaseli
    Male underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The species occurs mainly in the north-east quarter of Australia, from Derby around to Port Macquarie, including

  • Western Australia,
  • Northern Territory, and
  • Queensland.

    Jamides phaseli
    Female underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Gary Brooks, Tinnanbar, Queensland)


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 823-824.

    Gervase Frederick Mathew,
    Descriptions and life-histories of new species of Rhopalocera from the Western Pacific,
    Transactions of the Entomological Society of London,
    1889, Part 2, pp. 311-312.


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    (updated 22 March 2011, 19 April 2016)