Arhopala wildei Miskin, 1891
Small Oakblue
(also known as Narathura wildei)
ARHOPALINI,   THECLINAE,   LYCAENIDAE,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

These Caterpillars eat ant eggs, and probably the larvae also. They live in the arboreal nests of the ant species :

  • Polyrhachis queenslandica ( FORMICINAE ).

    The Caterpillars are off-white with a brown head and pale brown organ on the penultimate abdominal segment, and are covered in sparse short white hairs. When disturbed, the Caterpillars tuck their head under the body, so that it cannot be seen.

    The Caterpillars grow to a length of about 2 cms. They pupate within the ant nest. The pupae are buff coloured, and have a length of about 1.7 cms.


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

    On top, the adult butterflies of this species are very pale blue with wide dark brown margins. The hind wings each have a little tail. The butterflies have a wing span of about 3 cms.


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

    Underneath, the butterflies are cream with brown spots around the margins.

    The eggs are laid in small groups on the sides of nests of the host ant species. When the Caterpillars first hatch, the ants carry them into the nest. The ants feed on a exudation from the organ at the rear of the Caterpillar.

    The Small Oakblue is found in

  • Indonesia,

    and in Australia in

  • Queensland, from Cape York to Innisfail.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 691-692.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 232.

    A.J. King and L.R. Ring,
    The life history of Arhopala wildei wildei Miskin (Lepidoptera: Lycaeidae),
    The Australian Entomologist,
    Volume 23 (1996), pp. 117-120.

    William Henry Miskin,
    Synonymical catalogue of the Lepidoptera rhopalocera (Butterflies) of Australia, with full bibliographical references, including descriptions of some new species Annals of the Queensland Museum,
    Volume 1 (1891), p. 71, No. 5.


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    (updated 14 July 2004, 30 Octoober 2013)