Hypochrysops pythias C. Felder & R. Felder, 1865
Peacock Jewel
(one synonym : Miletus meleagris Waterhouse,1903)
LUCIINI ,   THECLINAE ,   LYCAENIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Hypochrysops pythias
earlyt instar
(Photo: courtesy of Mark Hopkinson)

This Caterpillar initially is green with a white line down the back, white flecks on the body, and has dense hairs along the sides.

Hypochrysops pythias
late instar
(Photo: courtesy of Mark Hopkinson)

Later instars are brown. The Caterpillar feeds nocturnally on the upper surface of a leaf, and hides by day under a leaf. It can feed on :

  • Brown Kurrajong ( Commersonia bartramia, STERCULIACEAE ), and
  • Whitfield Ash ( Trichospermum pleiostigma, MALVACEAE ).

    Hypochrysops pythias
    (Photo: courtesy of Mark Hopkinson)

    The pupa is brown with dark spots, and has a length just over 1 cm. It is formed typically in a curled leaf in the debris near the base of a foodplant.

    Hypochrysops pythias
    Male
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The adults are an iridescent purple on top.

    Hypochrysops pythias
    Female
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The female has broad black margins.

    Hypochrysops pythias
    Male, underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    Underneath, they are pale brown with rows of orange spots outlined in black and iridescent green.

    Hypochrysops pythias
    Female, underside

    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The butterflies have a wing span of about 3 cms.

    The eggs are laid singly under a leaf of a foodplant.

    The species occurs mainly in

  • New Guinea,

    and the subspecies euclides Miskin, 1889, is found in a small region of the north-east coast of Australia in

  • Queensland near Tully.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 663-664.

    Baron Cajetan Felder & Rudolf Felder,
    Zoologischer Theil: Lepidoptera,
    Reise der Osterreichischen Fregatte Novara,
    Band 2, Abtheilung 2, Part 2 (1865), pp. 254-255, No. 300.


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    (updated 29 September 2010, 11 November 2013)