Chaetocneme porphyropis (Meyrick & Lower, 1902)
Purple Dusk-flat
(previously known as Phoenicops porphyropis)
Don Herbison-Evans,
Stella Crossley

(Photo: courtesy of Mark Hopkinson, collected near Atherton, Queensland)

The Caterpillar is pale green or orange-brown, with a brown head carrying a short pair of pale horns. Along each side of the abdomen are a row of pale dashes. The caterpillar lives by day in a shelter made from joining leaves together with silk. Nocturnally it emerges to feed.

(Photo: courtesy of Mark Hopkinson, collected near Atherton, Queensland)

Its foodplants are all from the Laurel (LAURACEAE) family, including :

  • Camphor Laurel ( Cinnamomum camphora ),
  • Cinnamon Laurel ( Cryptocarya grandis ),
  • Queensland Greenheart ( Endiandra compressa ),
  • Brown Bollywood ( Litsea leefeana ), and
  • White Bolly Gum ( Neolitsea dealbata ).

    The caterpillar pupates in its leafy shelter.

    (Photo: courtesy of Neil Hewett,   Cooper Creek Wilderness, Queensland)

    The adults are dark brown with a blue sheen, and a broad yellow stripe diagonally across each forewing. Each hindwing is black with a yellow wingtip. The undersides of the wings of Chaetocneme porphyropis are similar to the upper surfaces. The butterflies have a wing span of about 6 cms.

    The forewing pattern is rather similar to that of the moth Milionia queenslandica, which lives in the same area, although it is not clear if the mimicry is accidental.

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

    The caterpillar hatches from a white ribbed dome-shaped egg laid singly on the upper surface of a leaf of a foodplant.

    The species occurs in

  • Queensland.

    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp 68-69.

    Edward Meyrick & Oswald B. Lower,
    Revision of the Australian Hesperiadae,
    Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia,
    Volume 26, Part 2 (1902), p. 43, No. 4.

    W.J. Rainbow,
    Records of the Australian Museum, Issue 2 (September 1908).

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

    G.A. Wood,
    The life history of Chaetocneme porphyropis (Meyrick and Lower) (Lepidoptera:Hesperiidae:Pyrginae),
    Australian Entomological Magazine, Volume 11 (1984), Part 1.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 1 October 2010, 5 January 2024)