Whilst walking in the Jamison Drive gully uphill of Barton Drive on Friday BLC member Glenda Datson and Ian Davidson spotted this lovely little blue butterfly, with pupae, caterpillars, and attendant ants. They have identified it as most likely the Imperial Hairstreak butterfly.
All photos were taken by Neville Bartlett of BLC and can be found in the insects photo album on this site.
The larval attendant ants: Iridomyrmex sp (anceps group) and I. sp. (rufoniger group).
Adults usually fly within a few metres of the ground around the larval food plant, or close to the breeding areas; they readily feed from flowers such as Bursaria. (in this instance it was feeding on the foliage of Acacia dealbata) Males cluster around pupae just before the females emerge.
In this instance it was a patch of lightwood Acacia implexa and silver wattle Acacia dealbata, mostly dead patch, with small (around 1 to 2m tall) regenerating juvenile plants.
Adults fly around, or close to, the larval food plant. Males frequently patrol the outer branches and crown; they also perch on the outer foliage of the tree, usually high up, to rest or bask. Females usually observed walking along the branches of the food plant.
ReferenceThe Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia, Michael F. Braby, CSIRO Publishing, 2004