Oreixenica orichora (Meyrick, 1885)
Spotted Alpine Xenica
(previously known as Xenica orichora)
SATYRINAE,   NYMPHALIDAE,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Oreixenica orichora
(Photo: courtesy of Museum Victoria)

These Caterpillars are initially green with a hairy brown head. Later instars are green with indistinct dark longitudinal lines and white dots. The caterpillars have a green head and a forked tail. The caterpillars feed on various species of Grass (POACEAE), including :

  • Horny snow grass ( Poa fawcettiae ), and
  • Soft Snow Grass ( Poa hiemata ).

    The pupa is mottled brown, and is formed upright in the soil surface debris. It has a projection on each side of the head.

    The wings of the adult butterflies are brown on top with yellow patches, and each wing also has an eyespot.

    Oreixenica orichora
    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Museum Victoria)

    Underneath, the wings are similar but paler, and the hind wings each have two eyespots. The butterflies have a wing span of about 3 cms.

    The eggs are laid while the female is flying over a clump of a foodplant. They are pale green and spherical.

    The species is found as two sub-species:

  • orichora in the mountains of
      New South Wales,   Australian Capital Territory, and   Victoria, and
  • paludosa (Lucas, 1892) in the mountains of
      Tasmania.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 492-493.

    Edward Meyrick,
    An ascent of Mount Kosciusko,
    Entomologist's Monthly Magazine,
    Volume 22 (1885), p. 82.


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    (updated 4 June 2010, 11 December 2013)