in this family are known as 'blues', although some species may be
commonly known as 'coppers or hairstreaks'. The top surface of the
wings on most of these butterflies is based on blue, although sometimes
it may be purple or more rarely red. The upper surface wing colouring
of these butterflies is seen during take-off and as they fly past;
most species have a quick, short flight, which is characteristic
of many butterflies in this family. Many colours may be present
on the underside of the wings and is usually viewed when the butterfly
is at rest.
caterpillars have a flattened appearance and may be green, blue, orange
or dull brown in colour. Some species of Lycaenid caterpillars have an
association with ants as they secrete fluids from a honey gland that is
collected by the ant for food. Some species are even known to live in
the nests of ants.
members of this large subfamily usually have a flattened antennal club.
Their larvae feed on flowers and flower buds, young leaves or seeds of
a wide variety of plants. Some species are attended by ants.
of the chequered blue butterfly have a wingspan of about 20 millimetres
across and get their common name from the colour pattern of their wings.
The major part of the upper side of both wings is brown in colour with
blue towards the base and a terminal fringe chequered brown and white.
The under side of both wings is predominantly a pale grey-brown with brown
and white patterns.
species is found throughout much of Australia from southern and coastal
Queensland through most of New South Wales and Victoria. In South Australia
it occurs throughout most of the state particularly where its food plants
grow. The larvae of the chequered blue butterfly feed mainly on the flowering
heads and leaves of saltbush, but clovers, grasses and other shrubs are
also known as food plants. As with many species of the Lycaenidae family
the larvae closely resemble the flowering heads they feed on.
grass blue butterfly)
species is considered to be the most common butterfly in Australia. Adults
have a wingspan of approximately 25 millimetres across with pale purple-blue
colouring on the upper side and a pale blue-grey underneath.
common grass blue butterfly can be found in large numbers in almost any
open area, from the coast to high mountain habitats. It is common in suburban
gardens and can even survive the most inhospitable industrial areas. They
are present across most of Australia throughout the year but are more
common in spring and summer in the cooler southern areas of the country.
The caterpillars feed on both native and introduced legumes including
saltbush, clover, lucerne and garden peas and beans.
is one of the largest subfamilies in Australia. The butterflies in this
family are characterised by having a cylindrical antennal club and wings
in shades of iridescent blue, green, purple or orange on the upper surface
and more cryptic patterns underneath. The larvae of most species secrete
a substance that is attractive to ants and therefore are usually found
in association with some ant species. The larvae of most species feed
on young leaves, flowers of seeds of a wide variety of plants.
blue, copper or hairstreak species visit the Australian
- Lycaenidae section found here.