Female: Profile, wings up
Female: Long Tail
|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.