Butterflies of New
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - LYCAENINAE
Tribe - LYCAENINI
female, Akaroa, Banks peninsula, New Zealand
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
There were originally thought to be only 4
Lycaena species in New Zealand i.e.
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.
is endemic to New Zealand.
species is confined to lowland habitats around the western and
northern coasts of North Island, and the northern coast of South
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.
butterflies have a rapid jerky flight close to the ground.