Blue Moon Butterfly (Hypolimnas bolina nerina)
Species: H. bolina
Binomial name: Hypolimnas bolina
Subspecies: Hypolimnas bolina nerina
Synonyms: Papilio bolina, Hypolimnas parva, Nymphalis jacintha
Common names: Blue Moon Butterfly, Great Eggfly, Common Eggfly, Varied Eggfly
Hypolimnas bolina nerina is a large black-bodied butterfly with a wingspan of about 100mm. It is a rare casual visitor from Australia, coming across the Tasman on the jet stream during late summer and autumn. The butterfly’s food plants Portulaca (moss roses) grow in New Zealand but is not known to breed here.
The species has a high degree of sexual dimorphism. The female is mimetic with multiple morphs.
The female’s upper side of the wings are a brownish black and does not have any spots like those of the male. The edges bear white markings.
The male’s upper side of the wings are jet black, offset with three pairs of white spots, two on the forewing and one on the hind. These spots are surrounded by purple iridescence. In addition, the upper side of the hind wing bears a series of small white dots.