T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Boulder Copper butterfly (Lycaena boldenarum)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Lycaenidae
Subfamily: Lycaeninae
Genus: Lycaena
Species: L. boldenarum
Binominal name: Lycaena boldenarum
Common name: Boulder Copper, Small Copper, Pepe Para Riki

Lycaena boldenarum is endemic to New Zealand and is found on both islands in a wide variety of habitats including grassland, shingle, sand dunes. When flying they stay close to the ground, and are only active in bright sunny conditions.
The underside hindwings of the Boulder copper vary in markings, some are pale and faintly marked. Other specimens may be boldly patterned with blackish marbling on a grey ground colour. 
The usual larval host plant is Muehlenbeckia axillaris (Pohuehue) but Rumex flexousus (native dock) is also recorded, and it is possible that other Muehlenbeckia species are also used. The egg is laid singly on a stem or on the underside of leaves. The larva is variable in colour so may be olive-green, yellowish-green, pink or reddish-brown, but always has a diamond-shaped mark on the prothorax. It overwinters when half grown and resumes feeding in the spring. When not feeding it hides beneath small stones. It is often found in association with Chelaner ants but there is no proven symbiotic link or dependency. The pupa can be either light brown or reddish, but the abdomen of both forms is speckled with black. It is secured by the cremaster and a few loose strands of silk to a dead leaf on the ground. 
(Information thanks to http://www.learnaboutbutterflies.com/)

For more information visit http://nzbutterfly.info/resident/boulder-copper/