Aspects of the life history, distribution and population fluctuations of Oxychaeta dicksoni (Gabriel) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae)

  • Published source details Heath A. & Brinkman A. (1995) Aspects of the life history, distribution and population fluctuations of Oxychaeta dicksoni (Gabriel) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). Metamorphosis, 6, 117-127.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Rear declining species in captivity

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Rear declining species in captivity

    A study in 1994 in Cape Town, South Africa (Heath & Brinkman 1995a) reported that a female Dickson’s copper Oxychaeta dicksoni butterfly laid eggs in captivity in the presence of black cocktail ants Crematogaster perengueyi collected from the site where she emerged, but not in the presence of ants from 10 km away. The female laid ~100 eggs in captivity over 10 days when she was placed with ants that had been collected from the same site as her, but when these ants were swapped for others collected from a site 10 km away she stopped laying. When these ants were replaced with others from the original site, she laid another 20 eggs. Thirteen out of 20 eggs kept in captivity hatched 18–20 days after being laid but none of the larvae survived to adulthood. A freshly emerged female Dickson’s copper was collected from the wild after she was observed mating. She was placed in a small container (dimensions not provided), covered with a nylon net, containing Phylica stems and two black cocktail ants from either the same site or a site 10km away. Ten of the resulting larvae were placed in a container with a small ants’ nest taken from the same site as the female butterfly and a potted Phylica plant. The other three larvae were placed in a petri dish with two black cocktail ants and some dry twigs.


    (Summarised by: Eleanor Bladon)

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