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Marbled Xenica (Geitoneura klugii)

Marbled Xenica
Upperside of a male. (Yalgorup NP, WA, 04 / 11 / 2012)

Appearance: Upperside and fore wing underside brown with extended orange patches. Hind wing underside grey-brown marbled. Males have a strong, elongated sex-brand on the fore wing upperside.
Wingspan: 4 cm
Season: 1 generation from mid spring until summer.
Range: Southern Australia; from south-eastern WA through southern SA, VIC, ACT, and eastern NSW into south-eastern QLD; also in TAS.
Habitat: Forest and woodland in temperate regions; shrubland in semi-arid areas.


The Marbled Xenica is common and widespread throughout the temperate and semi-arid regions of south-western, southern, and south-eastern Australia including TAS. The butterflies usually inhabit open forests and woodland with a grassy understorey. Like most members of the Satyridae family, they are very alert and difficult to approach. Males have a prominent, dark, elongated sex-brand on the upperside of the fore wings.

There are several superficially similar species, such as the Western Xenica (Geitoneura minyas), the Forest Brown (Argynnina cyrila), or the Common Brown (Heteronympha merope). At closer inspection, however, all of these species can be easily distinguished through differences in their wing pattern as well as the colour of their eyes (grey-brown in the Marbled Xenica, black in the very similar Western Xenica).

Additional Photos

Marbled Xenica
Upperside of a male. Note the extended, dark sex-brand on the fore wings. (Warrumbungle NP, NSW, 26 / 11 / 2007)
Marbled Xenica
Upperside of a female, lacking the dark sex-brand on the fore wings. (Blue Mountains NP, NSW, 19 / 02 / 2011)
Marbled Xenica
The hind wing underside of the male is grey-brown with an extended dark patch in the centre. (Brighton, TAS, 02 / 01 / 2012)
Marbled Xenica
Females lack the central dark patch on the underside of the hind wing. (Blue Mountains NP, NSW, 19 / 02 / 2011)
Marbled Xenica
The underside is highly variable, and this male is lacking the dark patch on the hind wing. (Yalgorup NP, WA, 19 / 11 / 2011)
Marbled Xenica
The butterflies regularly feed from flowers. (Yallingup, WA, 27 / 12 / 2010)
Marbled Xenica
Males often sit on the ground where they are well camouflaged. (Warrumbungle NP, NSW, 26 / 11 / 2007)
Marbled Xenica
Another view of the male underside with the dark patch very pronounced. (Grampians NP, VIC, 27 / 12 / 2009)
Geitoneura klugii vs. Geitoneura minyas
Marbled Xenica (left) versus Western Xenica (right), illustrating the differences in eye colour. (Yalgorup NP, WA, 04 / 11 / 2012)