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.

~~~

In Niue this butterfly is called pepe mahina lanu.

*********************

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

*********************

Photo: Antonio Machado; by courtesy of Antonio Machado

*********************

edited: 18.08.2017

Advertisements

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).

*********************

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

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.).

*********************

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

*********************

hypolimnas-a-lutescens-sh

Foto / Photo: S. Hashizume, 2008

http://jocv183199.web.fc2.com

*********************

edited: 28.01.2017