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Wattle Blue (Theclinesthes miskini)

Wattle Blue

Appearance: Male upperside pale blue; female upperside grey-brown with extended blue suffusion. Underside variable, light grey-brown with white and brown bands and markings. Fine tail on the hind wing.
Wingspan: 2.2 cm
Season: Several generations all around the year.
Range: All across Australia with the exception of TAS and the arid regions of south-eastern WA and central and western SA.
Habitat: Open forest and woodland with a grassy understorey; also semi-arid and arid shrubland.
Photo: Male (summer form), Port Kennedy, WA, 23/01/2011.

Description

While not exactly common, the Wattle Blue is very widespread and can be found almost all over Australia, including the semi-arid and arid regions of central Australia. It is missing in TAS and in the arid parts of central and western SA and south-eastern WA. The butterflies can be encountered in a wide range of habitats, including open forest, woodland, and arid shrubland.

The pattern on the underside of the wings is generally highly variable and shows strong seasonal variability, the winter form (Fig. 5) being somewhat darker than the summer form. There are several very similar species in the genus Theclinesthes, in particular the very similar Cycad Blue (Theclinesthes onycha), the southern coastal form of the Bitter-bush Blue (Theclinesthes albocincta), and the Western Bitter-bush Blue (Theclinesthes hesperia). Due to the general variability of all these species, identification of individual specimens can be very difficult.

Additional Photos

Wattle Blue
The male upperside is uniformly pale blue. (Lesueur NP, WA, 27/08/2011)
Wattle Blue
The female upperside is grey-brown with extended blue suffusion. (Port Kennedy, WA, 26/01/2011)
Wattle Blue
Underside of a male of the summer form. (Port Kennedy, WA, 23/01/2011)
Wattle Blue
Underside of a female of the summer form. (Port Kennedy, WA, 26/01/2011)
Wattle Blue
Underside of a male of the winter form with extended, dark markings on the hind wing. (Lesueur NP, WA, 11/08/2012)
Wattle Blue
The underside pattern is highly variable and similar to that of other Theclinesthes species. (Alice Springs, NT, 23/08/2009)