Imperial Blue


Blues, Coppers and Hairstreaks - FAMILY LYCAENIDAE

This page contains pictures and information about Blue, Copper and Hairstreak Butterflies (family LYCAENIDAE) in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.

Small Dusky Blue Butterfly - the top side of their wings are grey blue in colour, becomes copper brown under the sunlight. 
The butterflies in this family are from very small to medium size. Most of them have metallic colours, either blue or orange-brown in colour. They fly rapidly and erratically close to the ground.
Most species males have their fore legs reduced, normal in female. This characteristic is not as obvious as those butterflies in family NYMPHALIDAE. A number of species have one or two "tails" on the hindwings, usually combined with eye-spots. While at rest, they have a habit of rubbing their hindwings together to deceive predators. 
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The caterpillars of this family are small to medium size. Their head is usually held under the body, which is flattened and broad. Most species have dense short hairs. Some species their caterpillars secrete a substance which attracts ants, usually by a single or at most a few species of ants. 
There are many different species of Blue Butterflies in Brisbane. They are about the same size, look similar on the top and all fly very close to the ground in a similar flying manner. We never give up any chance of taking their photos. When carefully inspected those photos, we often find the unseen species. 

Classification :


The butterflies in this subfamily have the antenna club in cylindrical shape. Their hind wings may bear 1 or 2 slender tails. The caterpillars secrete a substance which attracts ants, usually by a single or at most a few species of ants. They feed openly during the day.


The butterflies in this subfamily have the antenna club more or less flattened. They are from small to medium size. Adults' wings are either tailed or tail-less. Some species caterpillars are ant attended.



Here we would like to thank Don Herbison-Evans for his kindly advices on the identity of some caterpillars and adults in our web site. His Australian Caterpillars web site is our major reference.

1. Insects of Australia, CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University Press, 2nd Edition 1991, pp 898.
2. Insects of Australia and New Zealand - R. J. Tillyard, Angus & Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, 1926, p464. 
3. Butterflies of Australia and New Guinea - Barrett, Charles and A. N. Burns, Melbourne, N. H. Seward, 1951, p109.
4. The Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia - Michael F Braby, Australian National University, CSIRO 2004.
5. Australian Tropical Butterflies - by Peter Valentine, photography by Clifford and Dawn Frith, 2nd Printing 1991.
6. Create More Butterflies -  by Frank Jordan and Helen Schwencke, Earthling Enterprises, 2005.
7. Australian Butterflies - Charles McCubbin, Nelson, Sydney, 1971, p66.

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Last updated: October 16, 2010.