The Australian Hairstreak, Pseudalmenus chlorinda

  • Tim R. New


This lycaenid is included here as one of the most spectacular regionally endemic butterflies, which is taxonomically complex, and for which conservation status of the various named subspecies continues to be debated. It is thus one of the taxa of considerable conservation interest, but for which any management (even if this should be needed) can still be couched only in general terms, based on a broad knowledge of distribution and critical resources. P. chlorinda exemplifies the many butterflies that at one level are data deficient, but for which broad knowledge is sufficient for ‘reasoned inferences’ to be made. The hairstreak (Fig. 5.1) represents a monotypic genus, and occurs only in Tasmania and on the southeast mainland, from northern New South Wales to western Victoria (Fig. 1.4, p. 10). It appears almost certain that it reached Tasmania across former land bridges from the mainland. At least six named subspecies are generally acknowledged, with some workers recognising seven, and at least one further, undescribed, subspecies may occur in Tasmania (Prince 1988b, Braby 2000). The complex history of tracing the type locality in Tasmania in order to establish the correct priority name is summarised by Couchman (1962). Although most subspecies, and populations, are highly localised, occasionally the butterfly can be quite abundant where it occurs (Wragg and Elgar 1997). Whereas the species as a whole appears not to be nationally threatened, strong concerns have been expressed for some localised subspecies, particularly in Tasmania where several forms occur in a relatively small area, with some separated by only short distances. Notwithstanding their consistent differences in adult appearance, the life histories of the Tasmanian subspecies are reportedly very similar (Prince 1988b), and are assumed so in comments on needs for conservation management.


Conservation Status Monotypic Genus Occupied Site Land Bridge Broad Knowledge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Braby MF (2000) Butterflies of Australia, their identification, biology and distribution. CSIRO Publishing, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  2. Couchman LE (1962) Notes on some Tasmanian and Australian Lepidoptera-Rhopalocera. Pap Proc Roy Soc Tasm 96: 73–81Google Scholar
  3. Couchman LE, Couchman R (1977) The butterflies of Tasmania. Tasmanian Year Book 1977: 66–96Google Scholar
  4. Douglas F (1995) Recovery plan for threatened diurnal Lepidoptera in western Victoria. Part 2: Family Lycaenidae. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  5. Dunn KL, Kitching RL, Dexter EM (1994) The conservation status of Australian butterflies. Report to Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  6. Hill L, Michaelis FB (1988) Conservation of insects and related wildlife. Occasional Paper no 13. Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  7. Prince GB (1988) The conservation status of the hairstreak butterfly Pseudalmenus chlorinda Blanchard in Tasmania. Report to Tasmanian Department of Lands, Parks and Wildlife, HobartGoogle Scholar
  8. Sands DPA, New TR (2008) Irregular diapause, apparency and evaluating conservation status: anomalies from the Australian butterflies. J Insect Conserv 12: 81–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Wragg SA, Elgar MA (1997) Host plant use and ant interactions of the Victorian hairstreak Pseudalmenus chlorinda zephyrus Blanchard, a myrmecophilous lycaenid butterfly. Vict Nat 114: 74–76Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ZoologyLa Trobe UniversityVictoriaAustralia

Personalised recommendations