Saltbush Blue (Theclinesthes serpentata)
Appearance: Very small. Upperside grey-brown with extended, blue basal suffusion. Underside brown with characteristic, though variable, pattern of white markings and patches. Very similar to the Samphire Blue (Theclinesthes sulpitius).
Wingspan: 1.8 cm
Season: Several generations annually.
Range: All across Australia except for the far north. Not in the arid inland regions of WA, QLD, and NT.
Habitat: Various habitats, including coastal mudflats, coastal dunes and heathland, open shrubland, woodland.
The Saltbush Blue is one of Australia’s smallest butterflies. It can be identified by the characteristic pattern of white markings and patches on the underside of the wings. There are several similar species within the genus Theclinesthes, in particular the Samphire Blue (Theclinesthes sulpitius), which can be found mainly along the east coast of Australia and which lacks the more extended white suffusion on the undersite of the hind wings.
The Saltbush Blue lives in a variety of different habitats. In Sydney, for example, it can be seen in significant numbers on heathland and shrubland along the coast, where the butterflies are usually found flying around the saltbush shrubs that serve as the larval food plant.