Establishing colony of Coppers

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    Topic
  • #41006

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Greetings

    Said I’d post this inquiry for a friend who wants to establish a colony of Coppers and has already got a nice lot of Muehlenbeckia (host plant) growing. There are no Coppers where she is – but they are within several kilometres.

    I suggested that she should take a potted Muehlenbeckia to where they are established and leave it for a couple of months. OR, to contact the regional council and ask them if they were doing any major projects where there was Muehlenbeckia they wanted removed, e.g. if they’re building a boardwalk or platforms etc.

    Any other suggestions?

Viewing 7 replies - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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  • #49016

    Mothchelle
    Participant

    I have identified the garden under my kitchen window as the best for planting copper host plants and because of the shape of the garden, have decided that M. axillaris would be the best plant to thrive here. After reading this thread, am I right in thinking that to raise coppers successfully here I need to find coppers already living on M. axillaris? That could be a long hunt.
    Michelle, Palmerston North

    #48326

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Yes Terry, copper butterflies revel in hot sunny conditions, so the host plant should be planted in a sunny situation. Jacqui I’m not sure which species of Muehlenbeckia Mary planted, but I think it may be M. complexa. M. axillaris, M. australis, and M. complexa are all suitable host plants to attract the common copper.

    #48320

    Terry
    Participant

    Norm, would I be right in stating that positioning of the Muehlenbekia would also be important, if not in attracting coppers also in keeping them if introduced to a garden. I remember from my trip to NZ many years ago that plants in a position where they get maximum sunlight were the ones I found copper butterflies on. The best place I saw was on Mangawhai heads at the base of the cliffs by the beach where the plants were in hot sun all day. They had lots of Coppers flying around them. Other plants in more shaded positions had none.

    #48317

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Which species of Muehlenbeckia have you planted at Te Puna Quarry Park, Mary and Norm?

    #41034

    NormTwigge
    Participant

    Unfortunately planting a particular host plant is no guarantee that it will attract the required butterfly. Our Copper butterflies breed on three of the five or more species of Muehlenbeckia so it would be important to be sure the plant was the correct species rather than perhaps a cultivar from the garden shop, and that it had not been sprayed. A particular colony of butterflies may have become accustomed to breeding on one particular species of muehlenbeckia over many generations, and living in a particular biodiversity, in which case releasing butterflies onto a different species of plant in a different area may well prove to be unattractive to the butterflies. Possibly with repeated attempts they may well eventually establish in the new area.

    #41032

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    By the way, I understand that last year they introduced caterpillars and/or pupae to the Muehlenbeckia, but the butterflies all flew away. Perhaps a few years of persistence might work…

    #41030

    Stefan Olson
    Participant

    I’d also be interested in the answer to this question, I’m in Bayview on the North Shore. I have no idea if there are coppers nearby, but I am about to purchase some Muehlenbeckia axillaris as ground cover and was hoping that I would also attract some coppers…

Viewing 7 replies - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)

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