Leptotes plinius (Fabricius, 1793)
Zebra Blue
(previously known as Syntarucus plinius)
POLYOMMATINI ,   POLYOMMATINAE ,   LYCAENIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Leptotes plinius
(Specimen: courtesy of Ken Fairey, Revesby, New South Wales)

These Caterpillars can be brown or green, and plain or with markings. They do however all have black heads which they are inclined to tuck underneath the front of the body.

Leptotes plinius
(Specimen: courtesy of Ken Fairey, Revesby, New South Wales)

The caterpillars are sometimes attended by ants. The caterpillars feed on the flowers and buds of various species of PLUMBAGINACEAE including :

  • Leadwort ( Plumbago auriculata ), and
  • Iliee ( Plumbago zeylanica ).

    Leptotes plinius
    (Specimen : courtesy of Ken Fairey, Revesby, New South Wales)

    The pupa has a length of about 1 cm. It is brown with a dark dorsal stripe and a dark spot at each side. It is formed in curled leaf.

    Leptotes plinius
    Female
    (Photo: courtesy of Kell Nielsen, Gold Coast, Queensland)

    Both sexes of the adult butterfly have a thin tiny tail near the tornus of each hind wing. The females are fawn with a patchy white pattern, and an arc of dark spots along the margin of each hind wing. Both underneath are fawn with a pattern of white bands, and an arc of black spots around the margin of each hind wing.

    Leptotes plinius
    Male
    (Photo: courtesy of Kell Nielsen, Gold Coast, Queensland)

    The adult male butterflies are brown with a purple sheen on top. Both sexes have a wing span of about 3 cms.

    Leptotes plinius
    Female
    (Specimen: courtesy of Christine Ashe, Wyee, New South Wales)

    The eggs are pale green and nearly spherical. They are laid singly on the underside of a leaf or a flowerbud of a foodplant.

    Leptotes plinius
    egg (arrowed)
    (Photo: courtesy of Rohan & Kell Nielsen, Gold Coast, Queensland)

    The species occurs as several races across south-east asia, including:

  • China,
  • India,
  • Indonesia,
  • Philippines, and
  • Thailand,

    as well as subspecies pseudocassius over much of Australia, including :

  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales, and
  • South Australia.

    Leptotes plinius
    (Specimen: courtesy of Ken Fairey, Revesby, New South Wales)


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 833-834.

    Johan Christian Fabricius,
    Entomologia systematica emendata et aucta,
    Tome 3, Part 1 (1793), p. 284, No. 92.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 228.


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    (updated 28 December 2009, 21 September 2013)