Boulder Copper not named for rocks

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  • #32550


    I was privileged to be shown the beautiful little Boulder Copper butterfly by Norm Twigge recently. They were flitting around the boulders on a track near Whakapapa, and I managed to get a couple of very poor quality photographs on my phone. But Norm told me a very surprising fact: the name doesn’t refer to the boulders that the little butterfly suns itself on, but to a person. The boldenarum part of its name Lycaena boldenarum was chosen by the entomologist who described it, a Mr White, in honour of his wife, Helen, whose maiden name was Bolden, and her sister Frances. I found the original story to corroborate Norm’s information in The Transactions of the Entomological Society of London 1861, 26.

    “…Mr White also exhibited the male and female of a beautiful Lycaena from New Zealand. It was allied to L. Sallustrius Fabr. (the L. Edna of Doubleday). The male of this lovely Lycaena is suffused with purple-violet and has a row of red spots on both wings, and black spots and marks: the underside is quiet brown and gray. The female is larger and has only a line of purple behind the tip of the forewing and parallel with the margin, and a macular line of violet on lower wings. Mr White proposed for it the name of Lycaena boldenarum, after Helen and Frances Bolden, the former for eighteen years his devoted wife, the latter for the last three years the wife of T. Corbet de Lacy, Esq. of Dunedin in New Zealand.”

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  • #32562


    Yes, they are a bit bolder than, say, a Forest Ringlet.



    Wow, that’s interesting, Kate (and Norm). I had always wondered why there was no ‘u’ in the ‘boldenarum’. Maybe it should be Bolder Copper, not Boulder?

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