Pest of the month: Cycad blue butterfly (Theclinesthes onycha)
Importance: Major, when susceptible cycads are grown in areas with cycad blue butterfly (mainly Queensland and New South Wales)
Similar to: None
Description: Eggs laid singly on new and unfurling leaves in spring to autumn. Eggs are pale white-blue, small (about 0.5mm in diameter) and disk shaped.
Immatures: Caterpillars are green when they hatch and become brown to dark brown as they grow larger. They typically feed on young, soft leaves and hide under the leaves and in the crown. They are nocturnal. Larvae mainly attack Cycas spp. and occasionally Lepidozamia sp. Larvae are oval shaped with mouthparts and legs concealed from above; they do not look like typical caterpillars.
Adult: Butterflies have pale brown wings with a metallic blue or purple hue on the upper surface. The lower surface is light brown with white lines. The posterior margins of hindwings have orange and black eye patterns and a small ‘tail’. They are small to medium sized butterflies with a wingspan of about 25-30mm. More