Many thanks to Cameron Hubbard for alerting me to the presence of Copper Butterflies in Newstead. There are a number of species of ‘Coppers’ in Victoria, including the rare and threatened Eltham Copper. The species Cameron spotted is the Grassland Copper Lucia limbaria.
Also known as the Small Copper, they are a very beautiful species and a welcome addition to the list of butterflies to have graced Newstead over summer. The host plant for the Grassland Copper is a native Sorrel Oxalis perennans, which is common and widespread in our district. This butterfly has an association with small black Iridomyrmex ants, which can be common in lawns and gardens. The ants attend the caterpillars and the pupae are found inside the ant nests.