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Plumbago Blue (Leptotes plinius)

Plumbago Blue

Appearance: Small. Male upperside pale blue; female upperside grey-brown with extended blue and white patches. Underside of both sexes brown and white marbled with two subtornal spots on the hind wing. Short tail on the hind wing.
Wingspan: 2.2 cm
Season: Several generations all around the year.
Range: Eastern QLD and eastern NSW all the way south to about Sydney. Also locally near human settlements in other parts of QLD and the NT.
Habitat: Open woodland; also suburban parks and gardens.
Photo: Marsfield, NSW, 13/04/2009.

Description

The Plumbago Blue has become a rather common and widespread species along eastern NSW and QLD, because Plumbago shrubs, the larval food plant, are popular ornamental plants in suburban parks and gardens. The butterflies are often encountered fluttering around the food plants in great numbers. Females attach their eggs directly to the flower buds of Plumbago shrubs where the hatched caterpillars feed on both the flower buds and flowers. While in the northern areas the Plumbago Blue can be encountered all around the year, the species is very seasonal around Sydney where the butterflies only fly from late summer until early winter.

Additional Photos

Plumbago Blue
The male upperside is mainly pale blue. (Ingleburn, NSW, 13/03/2010)
Plumbago Blue
The female upperside is grey-brown with several blue and white patches. (Ingleburn, NSW, 13/03/2010)
Plumbago Blue
Underside of the male. (Ingleburn, NSW, 13/03/2010)
Plumbago Blue
Underside of the female. (Ingleburn, NSW, 13/03/2010)
Plumbago Blue
Another image of the unique, marbled underside, here of a female. (Ingleburn, NSW, 13/03/2010)
Plumbago Blue
The tiny white eggs are directly attached to the flower buds of the food plant. (Ingleburn, NSW, 13/03/2010)