Butterflies of New Zealand
Southern Blue
Zizina oxleyi  FELDER & FELDER, 1865
Zizina oxleyi Omarama, South Island, New Zealand Nigel Peace
There are 5 Zizina species. By far the commonest and most widespread is otis which is distributed from India to New Zealand. The others were formerly all considered to be subspecies of otis but are now recognised as distinct species. They are antanossa which occurs throughout Africa, labradus which is found in Australia, emelina which appears to be confined to Tibet and western China, and oxleyi which is endemic to New Zealand.
This species inhabits sheltered flowery stony ground at elevations up to about 900m.
The egg is laid singly on the underside of leaves of the foodplants. It is pale bluish green pitted with whitish ridges, and is shaped like a flattened sphere. The fully grown larva is pale green or pinkish with a dorsal ridge and fleshy lappets. It over-winters when about half-grown, and resumes feeding in the spring. The larval foodplants include Carmichaelia, Montigena, Trifolium, Medicago, Lotus and Chamaecytisus ( Fabaceae ). The pupa varies in colour from cream to green or greyish-brown with mottled dorsal and subdorsal lines. It is formed on the ground among leaf debris.
Adult behaviour

The flight is weak, erratic and always close to the ground. The butterflies rest on stones or boulders with their wings erect on warm sunny days, but will bask with wings half-open when it is cooler or slightly overcast. They roost overnight on grass heads, in a head downwards posture.


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