Rare butterfly lands on man’s lap
sitting on my veranda it came overhead and landed on my knee, where it stayed for two or three minutes. My wife grabbed the camera but it took off before I could
’ snap it.
— John Powell
A rare butterfly from Australia paid a Manakau man a Christmas visit late last year.
John Powell said he was lucky he had time to grab a camera and take a photograph. As the name of the Blue Moon butterfly might suggest, sightings in New Zealand were relatively rare.
The Blue Moon butterfly was blown from Australia to places like Horowhenua on New Zealand’s west coast every year by prevailing winds, but usually in autumn months, which made the meeting with Mr Powell even more unusual.
Their journey might take 12 hours in a 60km westerly wind.
Mr Powell knew immediately what it was when he saw it.
“While sitting on my veranda it came overhead and landed on my knee, where it stayed for two or three minutes. My wife grabbed the camera but it took off before I could snap it,” he said.
“However, after flying around a bit it settled on some clothes on the line where it stayed for a further two or three minutes.
“This time we managed to capture it on film.”
Mr Powell said it was a female of the species, and possibly pregnant, which was larger than the male and had more blue colour on its wings. The blue can glisten at different angles.
They were bigger than monarch butterflies, with a wingspan of more than 110mm.
A Blue Moon butterfly from Australia paid Manakau man John Powell a visit just before Christmas last year.