Philiris sappheira Sands, 1980
Sapphire Moonbeam
LUCIINI ,   THECLINAE ,   LYCAENIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

These Caterpillars are green with a cream dorsal line, cream mottling generally, and dense hairy sides. The Caterpillars rest by day under a leaf near the base by a vein, where it is well camouflaged.


(Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

They feed nocturnally, the foodplant being :

  • Brown Macaranga ( Macaranga involucrata, EUPHORBIACEAE ).


    pupa
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The pupa is usually attached to the underside of a leaf of its foodplant.


    male (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The male adult butterflies are black on top, with a large blue-green iridescent patch on each wing.


    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The females only have the coloured patches on the forewings. Underneath, both sexes are white with black dots around the tornus of each hindwing. They have a wingspan of about 2 cms.


    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The species occurs as various subspecies in

  • Papua New Guinea,

    and as subspecies manskiei Ring & Olive, 1997, in

  • Queensland, around the McIver River.


    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, p. 686.

    Graham R. Forbes,
    Comparison of the immature stages of Philiris sappheira manskiei Ring and Olive, and P. nitens nitens (Grose-Smith) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae),
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 58 (September 2010), pp. 9-14,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    Donald Peter Andrew Sands,
    The identity of Philiris nitens (Grose-Smith) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae), with description of a new subspecies from Papua New Guinea,
    Australian Entomological Magazine,
    Volume 6 (1980), pp. 81-86.


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    (updated 16 December 2011, 13 October 2013)