Animal Species:Common Imperial Blue Butterfly

Butterflies in the family Lycaenidae are known as 'the blues' and some species are famous for their relationships with ants.

Adult Common Imperial Blue Butterfly

David Gray © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Common Imperial Blue Butterfly

Identification

The Imperial Blue Butterfly has a tail on the base of each hind wing. While resting, the tails blow in the wind and look like antennae. This may fool predators into attacking the more dispensable tails, rather than the head, of the butterfly.

Size range

4 cm

Habitat

The Common Imperial Blue Butterfly lives in urban areas, forests and woodlands, heath.

Other behaviours and adaptations

Ants swarm and surround the caterpillars of the Common Imperial Blue Butterfly, eating the honeydew they produce and, in return for their sweet treat, the ants guard the caterpillars and keep predators away. The black caterpillars are usually found feeding on acacias. The best way to find the caterpillars is to follow the trail of ants along the branches of one of these plants.

Classification

Species:
evagoras
Genus:
Jalmenus
Subfamily:
Theclinae
Family:
Lycaenidae
Superfamily:
Papilionoidea
Order:
Lepidoptera
Class:
Insecta
Subphylum:
Uniramia
Phylum:
Arthopoda
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?


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Tags butterflies, insects, arthropods, invertebrates, identification, wildlife of sydney,