This dark attractive skipper had a wing span of 30 mm. The upper side of the fore wings had small rectangular patches of cream. The trailing margins also showed a narrow margin of broken cream patches. The upper side of each hind wing ( just visible) had a bright orange patch. As with most skippers, the thorax was covered with dense olive green setae. White spots were seen on a dark head.
End of last summer I watched these butterflies fill this silver wattle with eggs. Attendant ants dispersed momentarily when breathed on. :D Ant species should be either Iridomyrmex anceps or Iridomyrmex vincinus ?
This observation features just one tree which accommodated every stage of the life-cycle of the common imperial blue or imperial hairstreak butterfly. Pic 1 shows a male butterfly resting beside a pupa. Pic 2 shows a cluster of pale blue-grey eggs with fascinating spikey outer coverings (see reference link in notes). The caterpillar in pic 3 had small horn-like tubercles along the dorsal aspect of the body. Pic 4 shows a cluster of glossy dark pupae and pic 5 shows the exuviae.
Pic 6 is that of an adult.
Every stage of this butterfly was attended by hoards of ants (Iridomyrmex ). They were running around all over the tree , clustering in large numbers around the pupae. There were ants around the eggs and caterpillar.
Another interesting feature was the fine webbing around the eggs and the pupae.
Spotted on a black wattle tree (Acacia mearnsii) near wetlands at a retarding basin.