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Butterflies of New Zealand
Fereday's Copper
Lycaena rauparaha  FEREDAY, 1877
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - LYCAENINAE
Tribe - LYCAENINI
Lycaena rauparaha female, Akaroa, Banks peninsula, New Zealand Martin Gascoigne-Pees
Introduction
The current classification of the genus Lycaena is unsatisfactory and in need of revision. The genus is loosely split into several unofficial groupings, which ultimately will be classified as sub-genera or new genera. Under existing classification there are about 70 Lycaena species, variously distributed across temperate regions of the world.
There were originally thought to be only 4 Lycaena species in New Zealand i.e. salustius, feredayi, boldenarum and rauparaha, but the former boldenarum subspecies tama and caerulea are now recognised as full species, as is edna which was formerly regarded as a subspecies of salustius.
Lycaena rauparaha is endemic to New Zealand.
Habitats
This species is confined to lowland habitats around the western and northern coasts of North Island, and the northern coast of South Island.
Lifecycle
The usual larval foodplant is Muehlenbeckia complexa. The egg is laid singly on the underside of the leaves. The caterpillar is velvety green, and has the usual dorsal ridges and lateral lappets found in Lycaena larvae. It overwinters when small and resumes feeding in the spring. The pupa is greenish yellow with reddish brown wing cases. It is secured by the cremaster and a few loose strands of silk to a dead leaf on the ground.
Adult behaviour

The butterflies have a rapid jerky flight close to the ground.

 

 

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