Ogyris subterrestris Field, 1999
Arid Bronze Azure
ARHOPALINI,   THECLINAE,   LYCAENIDAE,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Ogyris subterrestris
(Photo: courtesy of R.P. Field, Museums Victoria)

This Caterpillar is white with a small black head, a matching small black plate on the tail, and has black spiracles along each side. It lives in the nest of :

  • Sugar Ants ( Camponotus terebrans, FORMICINAE ),

    apparently feeding on immature ants. It grows to a length of about 2 cms.

    The pupa is cream with a length of about 1.5 cms. It is formed within the host ant nest.

    Ogyris subterrestris
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of R.P. Field, Museums Victoria)

    The male and female adults have different upper surfaces. The male is plain dark purple with pale bronze margins.

    Ogyris subterrestris
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of R.P. Field, Museums Victoria)

    The female is similar but with a black and white bar on the costa of each forewing.

    Ogyris subterrestris
    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of R.P. Field, Museums Victoria)

    Underneath, they are both pale brown, with dark brown splotches, and with a set of black and white bars on each forewing. Both sexes have black and white chequered margins to the wings. The butterflies have a wing span of about 4 cms.

    Ogyris subterrestris
    egg, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Walker, Big Desert, Victoria)

    The eggs can be white, grey or brown. They are round with a diameter of about 1 mm. They are laid in groups about 40 on the base of a mallee gum tree that has a suitable ants nest in the roots.

    The species is found inland in mallee scrub in

  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria,
  • South Australia, and
  • south of Western Australia.

    Two races have been proposed :

  • petrina in Western Australia, and
  • subterrestris in New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 714-715.

    R.P. Field,
    A new species of Ogyris Angas (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) from southern arid Australia,
    Memoirs of the National Museum of Victoria,
    Volume 57, Part 2 (1999) pp. 251-260


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    (updated 19 November 2012, 21 September 2013, 12 November 2018, 5 August 2020)