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Fringed Heath Blue (Neolucia agricola)

Fringed Heath Blue

Apperance: Very small. Upperside uniformly brown, underside light brown with black, brown and white markings. White and brown fringe along the edge of the wings.
Wingspan: 2 cm
Season: 1 generation in spring and summer.
Range: Temperate regions of QLD, NSW, ACT, VIC, SA, WA and TAS.
Habitat: Heathland and woodland.
Photo: Female, Lane Cove NP, NSW, 29/09/2007.

Description

The Fringed Heath Blue is one of Australia’s smallest and most inconspicuous butterflies. The upperside is uniformly brown, whereas the underside shows a complex pattern of black, brown and white markings and patches. A few similar species can be found in montane areas of NSW, ACT, VIC and TAS. However, the Fringed Heath Blue can easily be identified by the two v-shaped black marks on the underside of the hind wing.

The Fringed Heath Blue can be found throughout the temperate regions of Australia, where it is generally common in heathland and woodland from the coast up to about 1500 m in the mountains. The populations of WA and TAS form two separate subspecies, occidens and insulana, respectively.

Additional Photos

Fringed Heath Blue
The upperside (here of a male) is dark brown with conspicuous black and white fringes. (Grampians NP, VIC, 26/12/2009)
Fringed Heath Blue
The two v-shaped marks on the hind wing underside (here of a male) can be rather inconspicuous. (Grampians NP, VIC, 26/12/2009)
Fringed Heath Blue
The butterflies (here a female) often rest near the ground where they are easily overlooked. (Lane Cove NP, NSW, 29/09/2007)
Fringed Heath Blue
The underside (here of a female) shows a complex pattern. Note the two v-shaped black marks on the hind wing. (Lane Cove NP, NSW, 29/09/2007)
Fringed Heath Blue
Upperside of a male of the WA subspecies, Neolucia agricola occidens. (Koondoola, WA, 23/10/2011)
Fringed Heath Blue
Underside of a male of Neolucia agricola occidens. (Koondoola, WA, 23/10/2011)
Fringed Heath Blue
Upperside of a female of the WA subspecies, Neolucia agricola occidens. (Koondoola, WA, 31/10/2010)
Fringed Heath Blue
Underside of a female of Neolucia agricola occidens. (Koondoola, WA, 31/10/2010)
Fringed Heath Blue
Female of Neolucia agricola occidens laying eggs. (Koondoola, WA, 31/10/2010)
Fringed Heath Blue
Male of Neolucia agricola occidens feeding from flower. (Stirling Range NP, WA, 29/10/2011)