Anthene seltuttus (Röber, 1886)
Dark Ciliate Blue
(previously known as Plebeius seltuttus)
LYCAENESTHINI ,   POLYOMMATINAE ,   LYCAENIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Anthene seltuttus
early larval instar
(Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

Initially this caterpillar is plain green. The mature Caterpillar is green with a brown line along the back, and with yellow lines along the sides.

Anthene seltuttus
mature larva
(Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

It has been found feeding on a variety of plants, including :

  • Pudding Pie Tree ( Cassia fistula, CAESALPINIACEAE ),
  • Pongam ( Pongamia pinnata, FABACEAE ),
  • White Walnut ( Cryptocarya hypospodia, LAURACEAE ),
  • Queens Flower ( Lagerstroemia speciosa, LYTHRACEAE ),
  • Powder Puff Lillipilly ( Syzygium wilsonii, MYRTACEAE ),
  • Carrotwood ( Cupaniopsis anacardioides, SAPINDACEAE ), and
  • Flame tree ( Brachychiton acerifolium, STERCULIACEAE ).

    The Caterpillars are inclined to shelter under foodplant leaves, and are always attended by :

  • Citrus Ants ( Oecophylla smaragdina, FORMICINAE ).

    The pupa is smooth with a flattened abdomen, and is variously green or brown or a mottled combination of both, with a white dorsal line on the thorax. Its length is about 1 cm. The pupation occurs gregariously on stems or leaves of the foodplant.

    Anthene seltuttus
    (Photo: courtesy of Nick Monaghan, Tewantin, Queensland)

    On top, the male adults are purple.

    Anthene seltuttus
    Male
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The females are brown with a purple sheen, and have some pale-edged dark spots around the hindwing margin.

    Anthene seltuttus
    Female
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    Underneath, both sexes are fawn with arcs of light and dark dashes. The hindwings have a black spot by the tornus. The butterflies have a wing span of about 2.5 cms.

    Anthene seltuttus
    Male, underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The eggs are round, white with a dark spot, and flattened. They are laid in groups of up to 50 on young shoots of a foodplant.

    Anthene seltuttus
    eggs
    (Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

    The species occurs as several subspecies in

  • New Guinea,

    and as subspecies affinis (Waterhouse & Turner, 1905) in Australia in :

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


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 751-752.

    Johannes Röber,
    Neue Tagschmetterlinge der Indo-Australischen Fauna,
    Correspondenz-blatt des Entomologischen Vereins "Iris" zu Dresden,
    Volume 1, Part 3 (1886), p. 67, and also Plate 5, fig. 24.


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    (updated 25 December 2009, 9 October 2013)