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Lycaena salustius

Common copper

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.

Host Plant
Muehlenbeckia species especially M. australis and M. complexa / pohuehue.
Laid on underside of host plant leaves, usually on the sunny side. Hatch in about 10 days.
Dark green - looks more like a woodlouse/slater bug. Live about six weeks.
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.
About 25-35 mm. Bright copper. Jerky, short flights close to the ground.
Found throughout NZ.

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