Megisba strongyle (C. Felder, 1860)
Small Pied-blue
(formerly known as Lycaena strongyle)
Don Herbison-Evans,
Stella Crossley

Megisba strongyle
(Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

The Caterpillar of this species is green with pale markings including a set of pale chevrons along the back. The caterpillars can also have rusty brown marks along the back. It is humpbacked and hairy, and grows to a length of about 1 cm.

Megisba strongyle
(Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

It can project a pair of organs from the tail segment. It feeds on the flower buds of various plants including :

  • Kamala ( Mallotus philippensis, EUPHORBIACEAE ),
  • Turn-in-the-Wind ( Mallotus paniculatus, EUPHORBIACEAE ), and
  • Titberry ( Allophyllus cobbe, SAPINDACEAE ).

    Megisba strongyle       Megisba strongyle
    (Photos: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The pupa is green or brown with dark spots and markings. Its length is about 0.8 cm.

    Megisba strongyle
    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

    The adult butterflies are dark brown with a white patch on each wing. The females have larger white patches and more rounded margins than the males.

    Megisba strongyle
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The undersides are white with brown chevrons around the margins, and the hindwings each have five dark dots. The butterflies have a wingspan of about 2 cms.

    Megisba strongyle
    female, underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The eggs are pale green, round, and flattened, with a diameter of about 0.5 mm. They are laid singly on flower buds of a foodplant.

    Megisba strongyle
    underside, female
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The species occurs in

  • New Guinea and adjacent islands,

    and the subspecies nigra (Miskin, 1890) occurs in

  • north Queensland.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 847-848.

    Baron Cajetan von Felder,
    Lepidopterorum Amboinensium species novae diagnosibus collustratae. I. Rhopalocera,
    in G. R. Frauenfeld:
    Diagnosen einiger neuer Insecten und Untersuchung mehrerer Sandproben verschiedener Küstenpunkte gesammelt während der Reise Sr. Mag. Fregatte Novara,
    Sitzungsberichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien,
    Volume 40, Part 11 (1860), p.459, No. 43.

    Rudolf Felder & Alois F. Rogenhofer,
    Zoologischer Theil: Lepidoptera,
    Reise der Osterreichischen Fregatte Novara,
    Band 2, Abtheilung 2 (5) (1875), p. 6, and also Plate 34, figs. 32, 33.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 19 November 2012, 26 August 2023)