Bindahara phocides (Fabricius, 1793)
Sword-tailed Flash
(one synonym : Myrina camorta Hewitson, 1863)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Bindahara phocides
(Photo: courtesy of Mark Hopkinson)

The Caterpillars of this species are knobbly and basically white in the middle with black or dark brown segments at each end. The caterpillars grow to a length of about 2 cms.

Bindahara phocides
(Photo: courtesy of Mark Hopkinson)

They feed on the seeds within the fruit of plants in the family CELASTRACEAE, including :

  • Chinese Lolly Vine ( Salacia chinensis ),
  • Lolly Vine ( Salacia disepala ), and
  • Staff Vine ( Celastrus subspicatus ).

    (Photo: courtesy of Mark Hopkinson)

    The pupa is brown and rough, with patches of white and dark brown. Its length is about 1 cm. When disturbed, the pupa emits clicking noises.

    Bindahara phocides
    male and female
    (Photo: courtesy of Yusuke Takanami & Yasuo Seki)

    The male adult butterflies are black with a blue area on each hindwing. The females are dark brown with a white area on each hindwing. Both sexes have a tail on each hindwing which is as long as the wing itself.

    Bindahara phocides
    male, underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Mark Hopkinson)

    Underneath, wings are fawn with broad brown bands under the forewings, and brown dashes under the hindwings. The females are paler underneath. There is a prominent black spot at the base of each tail, both on top and underneath for both sexes. There is another black spot under the base of each hindwing. The wingspan is about 3 cms.

    Bindahara phocides
    male and female undersides
    (Photo: courtesy of Yusuke Takanami & Yasuo Seki)

    The eggs are white, round and flattened. Their diameter is about 0.8 mm. They are laid singly at the base of fruits of a foodplant.

    The species is found across south-east Asias, including :

  • Borneo,
  • India,
  • New Guinea,
  • Singapore,
  • Thailand,

    and the subspecies isabella (Felder, 1860) is found on the tropical north-east coast of Australia in

  • Queensland.

    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 747-748.

    Johan Christian Fabricius,
    Glossata, Hesperia,
    Entomologia systematica emendata et aucta,
    Volume 3, Part 1 (1793), pp. 282-283, No. 85.

    Baron Cajetan von Felder,
    Lepidopterorum Amboienensium species novae diagnosibus,
    Sitzungsberichte der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien,
    Volume 40, Series 11 (1860), p. 451, No. 10.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 28 September 2010, 30 October 2013, 27 January 2014, 19 August 2017, 3 July 2020)