Monday, 11 January 2016

Beauty out of the blue at Strathpine

A male indigo flash, patrolling his territory at Pine Rivers Park.
A butterfly survey I conducted in the first week of 2016 acquainted me with a little-known species I had not encountered before, the indigo flash (Rapala varuna).

This species is a predominantly Asian butterfly, found in tropical areas of countries such as India, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, but it also extends patchily down the Queensland coast.

The individual I found was a male that was patrolling his territory in a rainforest regeneration area of Pine Rivers Park, in the Moreton Bay suburb of Strathpine.

Identifying features include the iridescent blue colouring of the upper wing surface just visible in the above photo, as well as the solid band running underneath both wings.

The Atlas of Living Australia shows only a handful of records in Brisbane of this species, centred around the western suburbs of Long Pocket and Corinda.

Michael Braby’s ‘Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia’ (2004) notes this species as being common but local in occurrence, though conversely, its caterpillar food plants—such as the soap tree (Alphitonia excelsa) and foambark (Jagera pseudorhus)—are widespread.


  1. Very interesting! I haven't seen this species before.