Rare but­ter­fly lands on man’s lap

Horowhenua Chronicle - - NEWS - By PAUL WIL­LIAMS

‘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.

— 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.

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