Oreixenica ptunarra Couchman, 1953
Ptunarra Brown
SATYRINAE ,   NYMPHALIDAE ,   PAPILIONOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Picture: courtesy of CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences)

These Caterpillars are greyish green with light and dark longitudinal lines. The caterpillars feed on various Australian native grasses ( POACEAE ), including :

  • Common Tussock Grass ( Poa labillardieri ),
  • Gunn's Tussock Grass ( Poa gunnii ), and
  • Rodway's Tussock Grass ( Poa rodwayi ).

    The species has become endangered due to the conversion of native pasture to introduced pasture and tree farms, and to changes to grazing and burning regimes throughout its range. Fortunately the food plants are aggressive invaders of pasture and so the butterfly survives

    The upper surfaces of the wings of the male adult butterflies are chocolate brown with yellow patches. The upper sides of each of the fore wings each have an eyespot near the wing tip, and the hind wings have a similar one near the tornus. The females are orange with a similar pattern, and are smaller.

    Underneath, the wings are much the same as on top but paler, and the hind wings each have an extra eye spot. The butterflies have a wing span of about 3 cms.

    The females lay their eggs in flight, dropping them over likely foodplants. The eggs are green and spherical, with a diameter of about 0.8 mm.

    The species is found only in a small number of the mountain areas in

  • Tasmania.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 2, pp. 495-497.

    Leonard Edgar Couchman,
    Notes on some species of Oreixenica,
    Proceedings of the Entomological Society of London,
    Series B, Volume 22, Parts 5-6 ( June 1953), pp. 73-84.


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    (written 20 March 2004, 11 December 2013)