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Lycaena rauparaha

Rauparaha's copper

Pepe parariki or mokarakare

Photo by Brian Penney

Lycaena rauparaha is well described in Dr George Gibbs’ book ‘New Zealand Butterflies: Identification and Natural History' (1980). However, in ‘Butterflies of the South Pacific’ (2012) Brian Patrick identifies this species as the coastal copper, L. salustius.

Easily confused with the common copper -  both are often found flying together in coastal habitats. A bright golden, coppery upper surface, with mustard coloured or brown underside. The diagnostic feature is the single black lines of scales along the veins on the upper surface (in contrast to double black lines on L. salustius.)  It can be helpful for identification to look for blue spots around the margin of hindwings of the females - the spots are present on salustius but absent on rauparaha.

Check out the information about the Butterfly Discovery Project.

Te Rauparaha was a great Maori rangatira and warrior. Te Rauparaha took his tribe from defeat at Kawhia to the conquest of new territories in central NZ. As a war leader he enjoyed great success. The butterfly acquired its name because it has been found in the same areas of the coast as Te Rauparaha fought his battles.

Host Plant
Muehlenbeckia species especially M. australis and M. complexa (wirevine/pohuehue).
Underside of leaves, near the edge. Greenish-blue.
Soft green, woodlouse/slater bug shape.
Yellowish-green, on ground under leaves or leaf litter. About 20 days.
Adult or Imago
Soft, golden copper gleam. No blue on wings of females. Flies quickly and jerkily, close to the ground.
25-30 mm
As caterpillar.
Coastal, Northland, Bay of Plenty and north of South Island.
Photo by Angela Moon-Jones

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