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Western Xenica (Geitoneura minyas)

Western Xenica
Male. (Yalgorup NP, WA, 04 / 11 / 2012)

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.

Description

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 simple way to tell the two apart: the Western Xenica has black eyes, whereas the eye colour of the Marbled Xenica is light grey.

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.

Additional Photos

Western Xenica
Males have an elongated, dark sex-brand on the upperside of the fore wings. (Yalgorup NP, WA, 13 / 11 / 2009)
Western Xenica
Females have the upperside orange colour more extended and lack the sex-brand. (Guilderton, WA, 25 / 09 / 2011)
Western Xenica
This male has the upperside orange colour somewhat more extended. (Hyden, WA, 15 / 10 / 2011)
Western Xenica
Another view of the female upperside. (Ludlow Tuart Forest NP, WA, 15 / 11 / 2009)
Western Xenica
Underside of a male with small eyespots on the hind wings. (Yalgorup NP, WA, 13 / 11 / 2009)
Western Xenica
Females have the hind wing underside markings less distinctive. (Guilderton, WA, 25 / 09 / 2011)
Western Xenica
Underside of a female. (Yalgorup NP, WA, 13 / 11 / 2009)
Western Xenica
The butterflies often rest on the ground with their wings closed... (Yalgorup NP, WA, 13 / 11 / 2009)
Western Xenica
...and rarely feed from flowers. (Leschenault Peninsula, WA, 15 / 11 / 2009)