Western Xenica (Geitoneura minyas)
Appearance: Similar to the Marbled Xenica, but smaller, with black eyes, and with orange markings less sharply defined. Males have a dark, elongated sex-brand on the fore wing upperside. Hind wind underside grey with extended brown patches and small, indistinctive eyespots.
Wingspan: 3.0–3.8 cm
Season: 1 generation from September until December.
Range: Coastal and inland areas of south-western WA.
Habitat: Forest and woodland.
The Western Xenica is endemic to the south-western regions of WA from Shark Bay southward. The butterflies look very similar to the Marbled Xenica (Geitoneura klugii). Most field guides go to great lengths in describing the subtle differences in the wing pattern of both species without ever mentioning that there is a trivial way to tell the two apart: the Western Xenica has black eyes, whereas the Marbled Xenica has grey-brown eyes. In fact, the Western Xenica is the only species of Satyridae in south-western Australia that has black eyes, making it effectively unmistakable.
The Western Xenica can usually be found in large numbers along clearings or tracks in the forest. They are so abundant that often three or four butterflies can be seen fluttering around at any one time. Despite being perfectly camouflaged in the leaf litter, the Western Xenica is probably one of the most alert butterflies of Australia. It is almost impossible to get within one or two metres of an individual without scaring it away. Lower temperatures, a cloudy sky, and a great amount of patience make things a little easier.