Deudorix smilis Hewitson, 1863
Smilis Blue
(previously known as Virachola smilis)
DEUDORIGINI ,   THECLINAE ,   LYCAENIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

These Caterpillars are brown and covered in hairs. When mature, the caterpillars have a dark brown head with a caramel coloured section directly behind the head, dark brown/near black in a broad section behind the caramel area and anteriorly, and a broad cream band in the mid segments. They feed on the fruit and seeds of :

  • Strychnine Tree ( Strychnos lucida, LOGANIACEAE ).

    The pupa is brown with dark markings, and is formed inside a hollowed out fruit. Its length is just over 1 cm.


    drawing by William C. Hewitson, listed as Virachola smilis,
    Illustrations of diurnal Lepidoptera, Lycnid, Volume 1 (1863), Plate 8, fig. 22,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    The adult butterflies are blue on top with a wide black border to each wing. The females have a more rounded wing shape than the males. Underneath, both sexes are fawn, with brown and white patches and spots. Each hind wing has two tails: one wide and one thin. The hindwings each have two black spots: one on the wide tail, and the other near the thin tail. The male butterflies have a wing span of about 3 cms. The female butterflies have a wing span of about 3.5 cms.


    drawing by William C. Hewitson, listed as Virachola smilis,
    Illustrations of diurnal Lepidoptera, Lycnid, Volume 1 (1863), Plate 8, fig. 23,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    The eggs are white and laid singly on the fruit of the foodplant.

    The species occurs as several races throughout south-east Asia, including:

  • India,
  • Malaysia,
  • Philippines,

    and also as subspecies dalyensis (Le Souef & Tindale, 1970) in Australia in

  • Northern Territory.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 745-746.

    J.C. LeSouef & N.B. Tindale,
    A new subspecies of Virachola smilis (Hewitson) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) from northern Australia,
    Australian Journal of Entomology,
    Volume 9, Issue 3 (December 1970), pp. 219222.

    William Chapman Hewitson,
    Deudorix,
    Illustrations of diurnal Lepidoptera, Lycnid,
    Volume 1 (1863), p. 18, No. 3 and also Volume 2 (1863), Plate 8, figs. 22, 23.


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    (updated 5 September 2009, 2 November 2013)