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  1. 130 Northern form photo by Geoff Walker
  2. 130_0 Northern form photo by Geoff Walker
  3. 130_1 Southern form photo by Geoff Walker

Western Jewel

Hypochrysops halyaetus

Appearance

  • Colour: on the upperside the male is iridescent blue, bordered black.  The female is brown suffused with purple.  The underside of both sexes is orange-yellow with iridescent green bands.
  • Size: its wingspan is 2.6 cm.

Behaviour

  • Diet: Includes rattlepods (Daviesia divaricata), green stinkwood (Jacksonia sternbergiana) and white stemmed wattle (Acacia xanthina).
  • Movement: Adults are normally found near food plants.  Males are more active than females and establish territories along firebreaks and trails.
  • Breeding: Females lay their eggs at the base of the food-plant close to the ground near the entrance to an ants nest.  Larvae feed at night on the foliage and stems and are tended by the ants.  

What to Observe

  • Presence (to establish the first and last sighting for the season)
  • Courting/mating
  • Egg laying
  • Chrysalis (butterfly emerging from its shell)

ClimateWatch Science Advisor

  • We expect butterflies to appear earlier in the year as a result of climate change warming the Earth.
  • They may also start appearing in new areas as warmer temperatures enable them to live in environments that were previously too cold for them.
  • Climate change is creating an increasing dry climate in southern Australia. This drier climate will affect the abundance, vigour and health of the plants on which butterflies breed.

When To Look

  • Near Perth butterflies can be seen from late September, but usually in October and November.
  • In the northern part of their range butterflies can be seen as early as July.

Where To Look

  • Only in Western Australia
  • Confined to western coastal areas from the northern suburbs of Perth to North-West Cape.

Western Jewel Occurrence Map ALA

References

Williams A, Powell R, Williams M, Walker G (2009). Common Butterflies of the South-West. DEC, Kensington. Department of Environment and Conservation, Western Australia, Bush Books

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  1. What Else?

    The iridescent colouring makes the Western Jewel unique.

  1. Did You Know?

    The Western Jewel is unusual in having iridescent colouring on both upper and under surfaces of its wings.

    The butterflies usually settle on shrubs with their wings closed showing the iridescent green underside markings.