Blue Mountains News

New butterfly species found at Jenolan Caves

By Jenolan Caves
Posted: 12 Jan 2024
The Marbled Xenica has a distinctive pattern of gold and brown on its top wings, with a fine fringe around the wing edge Photo credit: Helen Smith
Biodiversity research at Jenolan is ongoing, and we’ve discovered many species over the past decade that are new records for Jenolan. Plants and animals found here are recorded, identified and compiled into species lists. These lists provide valuable information and guidelines for management of our flora and fauna.

The latest addition to our list of butterfly species is the beautiful Marbled Xenica (Geitoneura klugii, family Nymphalidae), also called Klug’s Xenica or Common Xenica. This small butterfly is usually found in temperate woodlands, where it feeds on grasses in the understorey or in forest openings. It’s found across southern Australia, including on the island state of Tasmania.

The top wings of the Marbled Xenica have a pattern of gold and brown like many other brown or xenica butterflies in its family, with a fine fringe around the edges of the wings. The undersides of its wings are marbled grey and brown, providing great camouflage. Once it settles onto the ground, especially near bark or leaf litter, this species is almost impossible to spot.

To the best of our knowledge Marbled Xenicas haven’t been recorded from Jenolan before, as we have found no records in public databases. Although specimens might be tucked away in museum collections, ours is the first record of this species at Jenolan in the public domain. Such sightings add to our knowledge of Jenolan’s biodiversity and give us one more gorgeous butterfly to watch out for!

 
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