Hypochrysops theon C. Felder & R. Felder, 1865
(one synonym : Nacaduba obscura Grose-Smith, 1894)
LUCIINI ,   THECLINAE ,   LYCAENIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Hypochrysops theon
(Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

These Caterpillars are pinkish brown with dark stripes along the corrugated body. The front and tail ends are rather flattened. The caterpillars grow to a length of about 2 cms.

Hypochrysops theon
(Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

They feed on Ferns ( POLYPODIOPHYTA ) such as

  • Bashing ( Drynaria quercifolia ), and
  • Northern Elkhorn ( Platycerium hillii ).

    The Caterpillars are always attended by :

  • Australian Golden Ants ( Philidris cordatus, DOLICHODERINAE ).

    Hypochrysops theon       Hypochrysops theon
    (Photos: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The pupa is mottled brown with a length of about 1.5 cms. It is formed in the ground debris at the foot of a foodplant.

    Hypochrysops theon
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The adult male butterflies on top are metallic blue with a black border to each wing, and a white patch on each forewing.

    Hypochrysops theon
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The females are black with the same white patches.

    Hypochrysops theon
    male, underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    Underneath, they both have pale brown forewings with metallic green and black edges, and hindwings that are metallic green with black bars across them.

    Hypochrysops theon
    female, underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    The male adults have a wingspan of about 3 cms., and the females about 4 cms.

    The eggs are round and flattened, and off-white in colour.They are laid singly on or near rhizomes of a foodplant.

    Hypochrysops theon
    (Photo: courtesy of Bob Miller and Ian Hill)

    This species is found in

  • New Guinea,

    and in Australia, where two subspecies have been recognised :

  • medocus (Fruhstorfer, 1908), and
  • cretatus Sands, 1986.

    Both are found only in

  • Queensland on Cape York and adjacent islands.


    Further reading :

    G. Daniels,
    The Life History of Hypochrysops theon medocus (Fruhstorfer) (LEPIDOPTERA: LYCAENIDAE),
    Journal of the Australian Entomological Society,
    Volume 15 (1976), pp. 197-199.

    Baron Cajetan Felder & Rudolf Felder,
    Zoologischer Theil: Lepidoptera,
    Reise der Osterreichischen Fregatte Novara,
    Band 2, Abtheilung 2, Part 2 (1865), p. 252, No. 297.


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    (updated 11 November 2013)