Had a phone call from Mary Parkinson yesterday to say there have been several sightings of blue moon butterflies in the Tauranga area, including at Te Puna Quarry Park.
So I laced up my walking shoes and headed to the park, thinking I’d have a good walk, including the butterfly garden, regardless of the blue moon … and saw one! Hypolimnas bolina, native to Australia and some Pacific islands, was flitting around the fuchsia garden.
They’re called common eggfly or giant eggfly in Australia – blue moon is a much prettier name, isn’t it? The blue moon is notable for having evolved itself very quickly to protect against a bacteria that was pushing the population on Samoa towards extinction.
According to this story from New Plymouth last year, the butterflies get blown across on the jet stream.
As well as seeing two yellow admirals pushing a monarch around in mid-air, I also came across some common blue butterflies (Zizina otis labradus, cool name) in the park’s butterfly garden. It also occurs in Australia and some Pacific islands and is often seen in dry pasture here.