Long-tailed Pea-blue
Female: Profile, wings up
Ellura
Long-tailed Pea-blue
Female: Long Tail
 
                      
Long-tailed Pea-blue (Lampides boeticus)Class: Animals (Animalia) - Jointed Legs (Arthropoda) - Insects (Insecta)
Order: Butterflies & Moths (Lepidoptera)
Family: Gossamer-winged Butterfly (Papilionoidea: Lycaenidae)     iNaturalist Observation
Species: Long-tailed Pea-blue (Lampides boeticus)
This Photo:     🔍Female: Profile, wings down🔎

Thank you Matt Endacott for confirming the id of this species for us

General Species Information:
Found on Ellura (in the Murray Mallee, SA) and elsewhere
~11mm long. Wingspan ~32mm. A little larger than Grass Blues.
We gave up hope of finding one of these many years ago. Then yesterday we saw a blue trapped in the shade house. Caught it to release it outside and realised what it was; very excited
Got some photo's to show you before releasing her.
As with all of the blues, the upper-wing blue colour varies in intensity (between individuals, locations, etc). Males have blue extending to, about, the edges of the wings, where as females are only blue to, about, the middle of the wing. This one is quite pale.
Interestingly, the tails mimick their antennae. Like the reniform stigma (eye spots in the wings), these are intended to trick predators into thinking their head is at the other end. A bird nip at their tail allows them to escape.
The "pea" in the common name is because they favour legumes as a food source. And blue because the upper wing surfaces can be very blue. While this one is quite pale, you can still see the metalic blue scales scattered around, just not very many of them.
Notice the hairy eyes. We've seen this in flies before. Not sure what benefit this has. Prof' Ian Gibbins said "The hairy eyes are almost certainly mechanoreceptors that would alert the insect to potential obstacles that it can't see for some reason eg out of visual wavelength range? The other possibility is that they are air-movement detectors and used for precise control of orientation during flight." Fascinating!
Found one in Sept.

Copyright © 2022 Brett & Marie Smith. All Rights Reserved. Photographed 19-Sep-2022
This species is classed as L (Local [Uncommon]) on the South Australian Butterflies & Moths website