Jan 17, 2017

Butterfly of the Week: Double-spotted Line Blue, Nacaduba biocellata

Bob Gosford — Likes birds and people, not necessarily in that order.

Bob Gosford

Likes birds and people, not necessarily in that order.

This isn’t the sharpest pic I might be able to get of this delightful little fella that is most likely the most abundant life-form (apart from the ubiquitous Buffel Grass) around Alice Springs right now—in numbers if not in weight.

I first noticed these Double-spotted Line Blue butterflies Nacaduba biocellata when I was out at Hidden Valley yesterday afternoon – small clouds of hundreds fluttering around some standing water.

Then I saw them again last evening, in even greater numbers this morning and again at work today, where they were busy in great numbers around the base of some acacias scattered around the backyard.

Most of my reference books are packed up ready for my house move this weekend but I managed to find a copy of Michael F. Braby’s The Complete Field Guide to the Butterflies of Australia (CSIRO, First edition, 2004) that was having a rest in my field kit.

Consistent with my observations around town Braby tells me that:

Large numbers of adults have been observed fluttering close to the ground and tree trunks beneath the canopy of the food plant just after flowering in inland areas. Probably several generations completed annually; adults may be extremely abundant seasonally depending on availability of larval food.

All of that fits with the bumper season we are having here this year.

And a big shout out to Chris Sanderson (@christhebirder) for id’ing this little (approx. 20mm wingspan) for me!

Watch this space.

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