Theclinesthes sulpitius (Miskin, 1890)
Samphire or Saltpan Blue
(previously known as Lycaena sulpitius)
POLYOMMATINI ,   POLYOMMATINAE ,   LYCAENIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Theclinesthes sulpitius
(Photo: courtesy of Todd Burrows, South Stradbroke Island, Queensland)

The Caterpillar of this species is green with a hairy head and tail. It has a brown head and a purple dorsal line. The caterpillar and the pupa are often attended by ants. The caterpillar feeds on various types of Saltbush ( CHENOPODIACEAE ), such as:

  • Billardier's Samphire ( Rhagodia billardieri ),
  • Brown-head Samphire ( Halosarcia indica ),
  • Glasswort ( Salicornia quinqueflora ), and
  • Australasian Samphire ( Tecticornia australasica ), and
  • Austral Seablite ( Suaeda australis ).

    Theclinesthes sulpitius
    (Photo: courtesy of Todd Burrows, South Stradbroke Island, Queensland)

    The pupae are brown and attached to a stem of a foodplant.

    Theclinesthes sulpitius
    (Photo: courtesy of Todd Burrows, South Stradbroke Island)

    The adult butterflies are brown with a bluish sheen.

    Theclinesthes sulpitius
    (Specimen: courtesy of The Australian Museum)

    The undersides are brown with wiggly white lines. The butterflies have a wingspan of about 2 cms.

    The eggs are white round, flattened, and have a pitted surface. They are laid singly on young shoots of a foodplant.

    Theclinesthes sulpitius
    underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of The Australian Museum)

    The species occurs along the east coast of Australia including :

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales, and
  • Victoria.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 814-815.

    Russel Denton & John T. Moss,
    Saltbush Blue and Samphire Blue butterflies at Boondall Wetlands,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 52 (March 2009), pp. 8-9,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    William Henry Miskin,
    Descriptions of hitherto undescribed Australian Lepidoptera (Rhopalocera), principally Lycaenidae,
    Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales,
    Series 2, Volume 5, Part 1 (1890), pp. 37-38.


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    (updated 19 November 2012, 24 November 2013)