Butterflies of New
Family - LYCAENIDAE
subfamily - LYCAENINAE
Tribe - LYCAENINI
Lycaena salustius, male Arthur's
Pass, South Island, NZ
© Nigel Peace
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.
female, Arthur's Pass, South
This species occurs
in a wide range of habitats ranging from coastal sand dunes to
montane tussock grassland at 2000m.
The larval foodplants are Muehlenbeckia
species ( Polygonaceae ).
The adults have a rapid erratic flight just above
Lycaena salustius, male
© Martin Gascoigne-Pees