Theclinesthes sulpitius (Miskin, 1890)
Samphire or Saltpan Blue
(previously known as Lycaena sulpitius)
POLYOMMATINI,   POLYOMMATINAE,   LYCAENIDAE,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.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:

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

    The catrpillar is attended by a variety of ants

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

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

    Theclinesthes sulpitius
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Martin Purvis, Sydney, New South Wales)

    The adult butterflies are brown with a bluish sheen, and chequered margins.

    Theclinesthes sulpitius
    male
    (Picture: courtesy of CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences)

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

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

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

    The species in Australia in :

  • Western Australia,
  • Northern Territory
  • 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,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 52 (March 2009), pp. 8-9.

    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, 11 August 2020)