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Common copper

Lycaena salustius

Pepe parariki or mokarakare

Photo by Rob Herd

Our 'classic' copper butterfly with a history stretching back to Cook's Endeavour voyage in 1769, from which it was named.

Lycaena salustius occurs in open country. The male is distinguished from other Lycaena species by the double black line along the wing veins.

The MBNZT currently follows the naming protocols for the four Lycaena species as identified by Dr George Gibbs in his 1980's book, 'New Zealand Butterflies: Identification and Natural History'. However, while researching his book ‘Butterflies of the South Pacific’ (2012) Brian Patrick concludes there may be more than one species, possibly even 20 different Lycaena species, hence our Butterfly Discovery Project.

Biostatus
Endemic
Host Plant
Muehlenbeckia/pohuehue.
Egg
Laid on underside of host plant leaves, usually on the sunny side. Hatch in about 10 days.
Larva
Dark green - looks more like a woodlouse/slater bug. Live about six weeks.
Pupa
Yellowy-green, found in stones or under leaves. 18-20 days.
Adult or Imago
Orange, black and white. Male has two scent glands on hindwings and thinner veins than female.
Wingspan
About 25-35 mm. Bright copper. Jerky, short flights close to the ground.
Range
Found throughout NZ.

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