Hypolimnas bolina (L.)

Blue Moon Butterfly (Hypolimnas bolina)

The Blue Moon Butterfly, also known under the markedly ugly name Great Eggfly, was described in 1764.

The species has an exceptional wide area of distribution, which stretches from Madagascar over Asia and Australia into eastern Polynesia.

Three of the several subspecies occur within the Polynesian region, these are: Hypolimnas bolina ssp. otaheitae (Felder), which occurs on the Austral- and the Cook Islands, the Marquesas, the Society Islands, the Pitcairn Islands, and on Rapa Nui; Hypolimnas bolina ssp. pallescens (Butler), which is found in Fiji, in Tokelau, in Tonga, and in Samoa; Hypolimnas bolina ssp. rarik (Eschscholtz), which occurs in some parts of Kiribati as well as in Tuvalu. Another subspecies, Hypolimnas bolina ssp. nerina (Fabricius) is native to Australia and regularely visits New Zealand, but has not yet established a breeding population there, but probably will do so in time, and thus should be mentioned here too.

Males and females show a striking sexual dimorphism, males are always black with some white spots on the wings, which again are surrounded by a glossy dark blue ring. The females are much more variable in coloration, they furthermore produce several morphotypes, which, in appearance, often resemble other butterfly species, a phenomenon called mimicry.

The males are very territorial, while the females are wandering over wide ranges.

The larvae feed on plant species from the Acanthaceae, Amaranthaceae, Asteraceae, Malvaceae and the Urticaceae family.

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In Niue this butterfly is called pepe mahina lanu.

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References:

[1] R. H. Van Zwaluwenburg: The Insects of Canton Island. Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society 11(3): 300-312. 1943
[2] Alden D. Hinckley: Ecology of Terrestrial Arthropods on the Tokelau Atolls. Atoll Research Bulletin 124: 1-18. 1969
[3] Jaqueline Y. Miller; Lee D. Miller: The Butterflies of the Tonga Islands and Niue, Cook Islands, with the Descriptions of two new subspecies. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 34: 1-24. 1993
[4] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of Fiji. The Weta 24(1): 5-12. 2002
[5] Neal L. Evenhuis: Checklist of Fijian Lepidoptera. Bishop Museum Technical Report 38(13): 1-53. 2007
[6] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of the South Pacific. Otago University Press 2012

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Photo: Antonio Machado; by courtesy of Antonio Machado

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edited: 18.08.2017

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Euploea schmeltzi Herrich-Schäffer

Samoan Crow (Euploea schmeltzi)

The Samoan Crow, which is sometimes regarded as a subspecies of the Long-branded Blue Crow (Euploea algae (Godart)), occurs exclusively on the Samoan archipelago.

The animals are quite variable in appearance as well as in their size, they have wingspans of 5,2 to 6,4 cm.

When disturbed they hide among the vegetation, where they are well camouflaged by their coloration, as long as they keep their wings closed.

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Photo from: ‘Karl Rechinger: Botanische und zoologische Ergebnisse einer wissenschaftlichen Forschungsreise nach den Samoainseln, dem Neuguinea-Archipel und den Salomonsinseln von März bis Dezember 1905. Wien: In Kommission bei Alfred Hölder 1907-1914′

(not in copyright)

Acraea andromacha ssp. polynesiaca Rebel

Polynesian Glasswing (Acraea andromacha ssp. polynesiaca)

The Glasswing is distributed from Australia and New Guinea to West Polynesia, the Polynesian subspecies lives on the Fijian Islands, however, it is now probably extinct in Samoa and Tonga.

The Polynesian Glasswing has black patterned, translucent wings with a wingspan of about 5,5 cm, the sexes appear to be superficially identical.

The species lays its eggs on the underside of the leaves of the native Golden Passionflower (Passiflora aurantia G. Forst.) and certainly also on those of other, introduced passionflower species.

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References:

[1] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of Fiji. The Weta 24(1): 5-12. 2002
[2] Neal L. Evenhuis: Checklist of Fijian Lepidoptera. Bishop Museum Technical Report 38(13): 1-53. 2007
[3] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of the South Pacific. Otago University Press 2012

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Photo from: ‘Karl Rechinger: Botanische und Zoologische Ergebnisse einer wissenschaftlichen Forschungsreise nach den Samoa-Inseln, dem Neuguinea-Archipel und den Salomonsinseln. Wien: In Kommission bei Alfred Hölder 1907-1914′

(not in copyright)

Euploea lewinii Felder & Felder

Crow Butterfly (Euploea lewinii)

This species, whose taxonomy is very confusing, occurs with several (?) subspecies within the Polynesian region, whereby, however, it seems not to be completely known, how far they are distributed here naturally.

Shown here is the Fijian subspecies (Euploea lewinii ssp. eschscholzii Felder & Felder).

Additional subspecies occur on the Samoan Islands (Euploea lewinii ssp. bourkei (Poulton)), on Tonga (Euploea lewinii ssp. mathewi (Poulton)) as well as on Niue and the Cook Islands (Euploea lewinii ssp. perryi (Butler)).

The caterpillars feed on the leaves of various fig species, including the Pacific Banyan (Ficus prolixa G. Forst.) and the Dye Fig (Ficus tinctoria G. Forst.).

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References:

[1] Alden D. Hinckley: Ecology of Terrestrial Arthropods on the Tokelau Atolls. Atoll Research Bulletin 124: 1-18. 1969
[2] Jaqueline Y. Miller; Lee D. Miller: The Butterflies of the Tonga Islands and Niue, Cook Islands, with the Descriptions of two new subspecies. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 34: 1-24. 1993
[3] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of Fiji. The Weta 24(1): 5-12. 2002
[4] Neal L. Evenhuis: Checklist of Fijian Lepidoptera. Bishop Museum Technical Report 38(13): 1-53. 2007

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euploea-l-eschscholtzii-dhg

Photo: Donald H. Gudehus; by courtesy of Donald H. Gudehus

http://www.parfaitimage.com

Hypolimnas errabunda (Hopkins)

Samoan Eggfly (Hypolimnas errabunda)

This beautiful butterfly, with its rather ugly name, is one of several larger butterfly species that are endemic to the Samoan Islands.

This species was scientifically described in the year 1927 and was subsequently considered lost, until its rediscovery in the year 2009.

The caterpillars of this species feed (among others ?) on the leaves of the Fau pata (Cypholophus macrocephalus var. mollis (Wedd.) Wedd.), a member of the Nettle family (Urticaceae).

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References:

[1] O. H. Sweezey: Notes on Food Habits of Lepidoptera in Samoa. Proc. Haw. Ent. Soc. 11(2): 202-216. 1942
[2] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of the South Pacific. Otago University Press 2012

Vanessa gonerilla Fabricius

New Zealand Red Admiral (Vanessa gonerilla)

The New Zealand Red Admiral is an endemic species of New Zealand, it was formerly split into two subspecies, of which the nominate race was considered to occur on the New Zealand main islands.

The former subspecies of the Chatham Islands, however, is now treated as a distinct species, thus the New Zealand Red Admiral is a monotypic species. [1]

The species reaches a wingspan of about 5 to 6 cm.

The caterpillars feed on the leaves of the various native New Zealand nettle species, especially of Urtica ferox G. Forst., and Urtica incisa Poir..

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The Maori name of this species is kahukura, which literally means “red cloak”.

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References:

[1] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of the South Pacific. Otago University Press 2012

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vanessa-gonerilla-jm

Photo: Jon Sullivan
https://www.inaturalist.org/people/jon_sullivan

(under creative commons license (4.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0

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edited: 28.01.2017

Hypolimnas antilope (Cramer)

Yellow Eggfly (Hypolimnas antilope)

This species occurs in Southeast Asia and Australia, the subspecies discussed here (Hypolimnas antilope ssp. lutescens (Butler)) occurs from Melanesia up to West Polynesia.

The butterfly reaches a wingspan of up to 8 cm, and is mainly dark ochre-brown in color, and bears some lighter spots on all four wings.

The caterpillars feed, among other things, on the leaves of the Hairy Pipturus (Pipturus argenteus var. lanosus Skottsb.).

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References:

[1] Jaqueline Y. Miller; Lee D. Miller: The Butterflies of the Tonga Islands and Niue, Cook Islands, with the Descriptions of two new subspecies. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers 34: 1-24. 1993
[2] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of Fiji. The Weta 24(1): 5-12. 2002
[3] Neal L. Evenhuis: Checklist of Fijian Lepidoptera. Bishop Museum Technical Report 38(13): 1-53. 2007
[4] Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: Butterflies of the South Pacific. Otago University Press 2012

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hypolimnas-a-lutescens-sh

Foto / Photo: S. Hashizume, 2008

http://jocv183199.web.fc2.com

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edited: 28.01.2017