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The Blues (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae, Lycaeninae) of Papua Indonesia

by Stefan Schröder


Philiris intensa (Butler, 1876)

ssp. intensa (Butler, 1876)
ssp. birou Wind & Clench, 1947
ssp. regina (Butler, 1882)


According to Parsons (1998), there are three subspecies of intensa which are characterized as follows:
ssp. intensa (Butler, 1876): broad dark forewing apex, females without white on the forewing. [southern New Guinea]
ssp. birou Wind & Clench, 1947: larger than intensa, narrower dark forewing apex, females with white on the forewing; increasing with increasing altitude of populations. [remaining New Guinea]
ssp. regina (Butler, 1882): Status of this subspecies remains doubtful [Key Isl., New Guinea, New Britain]. Parsons mentions it as valid but later on states that regina is “undoubtedly a synonym of intensa”. One of the main reasons for Tite to separate it from the other races of intensa was the development of a “dusky cell-end bar”, which however has proven to be quite variable. Females of regina are very variable: Tite (1963: 237) mentions that females from Key, Mefor, Schouten Isl. and Snow Mtns. are “without a suspicion of white”, whereas Parsons (1998: 374) compares the females from P.N.G. with high altitudinal forms of birou, which are “well marked with white”.

Present classification must be questioned as recent collections of West Papuan specimens do not follow the characters presented above and taxonomy seems to be much more complex. Certainly there is considerable variation concerning the width of the brown fw apex (Parsons: 1998: 374) and this can be clearly seen when comparing specimens e.g. from Yapen and Yahukimo. Classification of females is highly problematic and the available discussions (Tite 1963, Parsons 1998) are contradictory.
External distribution: Moluccas, P.N.G.






STATUS: An uncommon species. In Papua represented by three subspecies.

PAPUA LOCALITIES: New Guinea: ssp. intensa: South New Guinea; ssp. birou: Japen Island; New Guinea: Fakfak, Sorong; ssp. regina: Numfor Island; Biak Island; New Guinea: Snow Mountains, Walmak. Details in gazetteer.

EXTERNAL DISTRIBUTION: Moluccas, Papua New Guinea.

DATA SOURCES: Literature (see below).






Parson, M., 1998. The butterflies of Papua New Guinea. Their systematics and biology: 736 pp., Academic Press, London.
Tite, G.E., 1963. A revision of the genus Candalides and allied genera (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) Entomology Supplement, 14: 199-259.