SOUTH AUSTRALIAN BUTTERFLIES

Cyprotides cyprotus cyprotus (Oliff)   (Cyprotus Pencilled-blue)


The following series of photographs illustrate the pupation of Cyprotides cyprotus.   The pupation methodology is
also typical of other Lycaenid butterflies, except the final shape of the pupa will vary. 
It takes about 4 days for the pupation to be completed

Day 1.  Photographs 1and 2, left and centre, show the larva at the beginning of pupation.   It first finds a suitable
place to pupate and then silks a surface area slightly larger than itself.  It then settles down in the middle of the silked
area and rests for a while (photo 3) before creating a girdle through which it slips through to enter the prepupa stage

Photo 4 shows the larva (now prepupa) just after it has slipped through its girdle.  Day 2.  During days 2 and 3 of
the prepupa stage, the pupa part starts to develop within the old outer larval skin, and it slowly contracts into an
elongated rounded mass.  Photos 5 and 6 are of the early stages of this development

Day 3.  Photos 7 and 8 show a later stage of prepupal development.  The turquoise colour of the tubercles are now particularly noticeable against the white background of the body colour, giving the prepupa the appearance of an
ancient Egyptian scarab fashioned from Venetian glass. Over time, the turquoise colour gradually fades (photo 9)
and the tubercles slowly shrink and become shapeless, and the outer larval skin becomes transparent, leading to

Day 4.  Photo 10, a few hours before pupation, where the prepupa has lost all of its previous larval shape.  Eventually
at photo 11 (0 minutes) the prepupa, now almost completely white, splits the outer skin near its head, and with pulsating movements by the pupa the skin is quickly forced to the posterior end (right hand side), (photo 12, after 15 minutes) 

Photo 13 (after 30 minutes), the pupa completely discards the skin (removed here for clarity) and attaches its rear
end firmly to the silken area by the cremaster (a series of hooked bristles at the rear end beneath).  The pupa then
starts to develop its final appearance, in this case the posterior and lateral edges of the abdomen and the anterior
end of the head are gradually flattened, the dorsal protuberances are gradually forced into shape, and the surface
acquires a rough appearance.  Photos 14 and 15 are after 36 minutes

In photo 16 (after 110 minutes) the pupa is nearing its final shape.  In photo 17 (after 145 minutes) it has acquired
its final shape but is still soft and has not developed camouflage colours.  It takes another day for the pupa to fully
acquire its final colour.  Photo 18 shows the pupa two days after pupation