Jalmenus evagoras evagoras Click to enlarge image
Adult Common Imperial Blue Butterfly, Jalmenus evagoras evagoras Image: David Gray
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    evagoras
    Genus
    Jalmenus
    Subfamily
    Theclinae
    Family
    Lycaenidae
    Super Family
    Papilionoidea
    Order
    Lepidoptera
    Class
    Insecta
    Subphylum
    Uniramia
    Phylum
    Arthopoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    4 cm

Introduction

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

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.

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.