Saturday, 28 April 2012

Blue Moon Butterfly of Pitcairn Islands

The species as depicted on stamp of Pitcairn Islands are Blue Moon Butterfly or Hypolimnas bolina , male at the left side and female at the right side.

The Blue Moon butterfly, also called Great Eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina) in New Zealand or Common Eggfly, is a species of nymphalid butterfly.The Great Eggfly is a black-bodied butterfly with a wingspan of about 7–8½ cm. The species has a high degree of sexual dimorphism. The female is mimetic with multiple morphs.

The Male characteristics are the upper side of the wings are jet black, offset with three pairs of white spots ;two on the forewing and one on the hind. These white spots are surrounded by purple iridescence. In addition, the upper side of the hind wing bears a series of small white dots.The upper side of the wings of the female is a brownish black and does not have any spots like those of the male.

Great Eggflies are found in Madagascar in the west, through to South and Southeast Asia, South Pacific islands (French Polynesia, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu) and occurs in parts of Australia, Japan and New Zealand. Great Eggfly is a fairly common butterfly found in lightly wooded country, deciduous forests, thick and moist scrub and the greener parts of human habitation.

After about four days the eggs hatch. The caterpillars immediately disperse. The butterfly emerges after seven to eight days as pupae (female development is always a bit longer).

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