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LYCAENIDAE Gossamer winged, Blues and Coppers

Zizina labradus Common Grass Blue


Common Grass Blue - Zizinia labradus
Photo: Derek Boddington

The Lycaenidae are the second-largest family of butterflies, with about 6000 species worldwide. Traditional divided into the blues (Polyommatinae), coppers (Lycaeninae), hairstreaks (Theclinae) and harvesters (Miletinae) et al. Adults are small, under 5 cm usually, and brightly coloured, sometimes with a metallic gloss. Adult butterflies often have hairy antenna like tails complete with black and white annulated appearance.

Zizina labradus Common Grass Blue is very small (wingspan about 2cm) common in Brisbane. They fly close to the ground over grass and low vegetation. Common in urban areas where it feeds on the young leaves and pea-like flowers of White Clover (Trifolium repens) and other species of the family Fabaceae.

Zizina labradus Common Grass Blue


Common Grass Blue - Zizinia labradus
Photo: Derek Boddington

They have black bodies, wings are grey-purple-blue on top pink or reddish-brown-white underneath. They camouflage well among the grass and clover on which they feed. Caterpillars have a light brown head and a body covered with fine hairs, with a dark green line running along their back.

Zizina labradus Common Grass Blue


Common Grass Blue
Photo: Robert Whyte

This Common Grass Blue photographed On Saturday, 17 November 2007 in a garden in The gap, shows the blue furry appearance of the body between the upper wings.

Hypochrysops byzos Yellow Jewel butterfly


Small butterfly with a wingspan to roughly 3cm. The male underside is orange with red bands and spots edged with metallic green. Female underside bright yellow rather than orange.

The adult males are metallic blue on top with black wing margins. They have two small orange spots on the tail of each hind wing. The adult females are dark brown on top with an orange blotch on each wing.

Food plant is Rusty Pomaderris (Pomaderris ferruginea). There are no records that Yellow Jewel butterfly occurred in Enoggera catchment, however there is a specimen in the DPI collection labeled Mount Gravatt 1901 so it may have once occurred in this area as well.

Zizula hylax Dainty Grass Blue


Dainty Grass Blue - Zizula hylax
Photo: Derek Boddington

The Dainty Grass Blue is a small butterfly with a wingspan of only 15mm.

Their wing tops are dark brown, fading toward the wing bases, the males wings have a purple iridescence. Underneath, both sexes are pale grey, with multiple arcs of brown dashes.

Their caterpillars are green with a dark red line along the back, the sides are hairy and the head pale brown. They feed inside the fruits of Karamat.

Philliris innotatus (LYCAENIDAE, THECLINAE) Purple moonbeam


Butterfly

This small white butterfly with dark fringing and spectacular zebra striped legs and antennae also featured blue on the upper surfaces of the wings.

Could be Philliris innotatus (LYCAENIDAE, THECLINAE) Purple moonbeam - common in lowland rainforest and wet coastal areas including vine thickets along creeks and rivers on Ficus spp.

Philliris innotatus (LYCAENIDAE, THECLINAE) Purple moonbeam Closeup


Butterfly

This small white butterfly with dark fringing and spectacular zebra striped legs and antennae also featured blue on the upper surfaces of the wings.

Could be Philliris innotatus (LYCAENIDAE, THECLINAE) Purple moonbeam - common in lowland rainforest and wet coastal areas including vine thickets along creeks and rivers on Ficus spp.