Paralucia spinifera Edwards & Common, 1978
Bathurst Purple Copper
(one synonym : Nacaduba obscura Grose-Smith, 1894)
LUCIINI ,   THECLINAE ,   LYCAENIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Paralucia spinifera
(Photo: courtesy of Simon Nally, National Parks and Wildlife Service)

This Caterpillar is greyish green with brown lines along the body. The side of of each segment has an obscure oblique white line. The head and last segment are brown. There is a eversible organ each side of the last body segment. The Caterpillar grows to a length of about 1.5 cms. It feeds on :

  • Blackthorn ( Bursaria spinosa var lasiophylla, PITTOSPORACEAE ).

    The Caterpillars are always attended by the ants :

  • Anonychomyrma itinerans ( DOLICHODERINAE ).

    Young instars feed by day, resting on the undersides of the leaves. Later instars feed nocturnally, resting by day in the nest of the attendant ants. The Caterpillar pupates lying loosely on the soil in the nest of the attending ants.

    The pupa is spotty brown, and has a length of about 1.5 cms. The pupa clicks if disturbed.

    Paralucia spinifera
    (Photo: courtesy of Simon Nally, National Parks and Wildlife Service)

    The adult male and female butterflies are different. The males are iridescent purple on top with broad black wing margins. The females are dark brown. Both sexes have chequered edges to the wings.

    Paralucia spinifera
    female
            
    Paralucia spinifera
    male
    (Photos: courtesy of Martin Purvis, Sydney)

    The undersides are fawn with irregular white-edged brown bands. The butterflies have a wingspan of about 2 cms.

    The eggs are hemispherical and pale green. They have a diameter of about 0.8 mm. They are laid in groups up to four on or near the base of a foodplant.

    This species has only been found between Lithgow and Bathurst, in the highlands of New South Wales. It is listed as a threatened species.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 646-647.

    Ted Edwards & Ian Common,
    1978. A new species of Paralucia Waterhouse & Turner from New South Wales (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae),
    Australian Entomological Magazine,
    Volume 5, Part 4 (1978), pp. 65-70.


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    (updated 30 May 2009, 22 November 2013)