After my initial excitement at seeing some Copper Butterflies, in an area not far from our home in Northland last week, yesterday I returned to the same place.
While there was not quite the same array of butterflies (no Blues or Whites this time) I was delighted to see several Maui's Coppers flicking about. I saw about 5 altogether, all in fairly pristine condition, proving that the new season's hatchlings are coming along just fine.
Maui's Copper (Lycaena edna) is said to only be found in the North Island of New Zealand. It is a recent split off as it's own separate species, whereas it had been thought to be a subspecies of the Common Copper butterfly (Lycaena salustius).
Here is the revised New Zealand Copper butterflies break-down.
Originally it was thought there were four Lycaena species in New Zealand, however now it is agreed there are seven. The Common Copper has been split into Coastal Copper and Maui’s Copper. The Glade Copper has been identified as having the ‘enysii’ variation, so is now called North Island Glade Copper. Rauparaha’s Copper remains unchanged.
The Boulder Copper classification has been split into two, with the introduction of the Canterbury Alpine Boulder Copper.
(Links in this post take you to iNaturalist.nz website classifications)