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Author Topic: Coppers in South Canterbury  (Read 960 times)
Philip
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« on: (09 Feb 2011) Wed 10:32 PM »

Hi folks. I know of 2 populations of L. rauparaha in South Canterbury, both fairly close to each other. One was found by a young Australian visitor around 2004 at Kakahu, a foothill valley south west of Geraldine. In late January 2006 I observed rauparaha, salustius and feredayi all flying in a steep gully with plenty of Muhlenbeckia australis and complexa growing near and above a stream. I found I could ID them in flight thanks to hind wing colours - local rauparaha with dark brown wings, feredayi with dull yellow wings with darker areas, and salustius with a reasonably bright yellow colour. When they stopped to feed on flowers and opened their wings it was very easy to tell which was which thanks to vein width and black band width. Salustius appeared to be abundant, and the other two present in smaller numbers.

In January 2010 I found rauparaha and salustius together in the Te Moana gorge area, west of Geraldine, flying over exotic grasses and flowering weeds above streamside slopes with native vegetation. I didn't see feredayi, but I would expect it could be present based on what I've seen at other local sites.

These must be the southernmost-known populations of rauparaha at present. If I had time, I'd be intrigued to note differences in flight times between the species, as well as investigate other nearby sites for rauparaha.
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Robert
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« Reply #1 on: (14 Feb 2011) Mon 08:13 PM »

Thanks for the notes,

I will be updating many pages on the site in March with observations & new photos from this summer, so will include this.

Robert.
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Robert
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« Reply #2 on: (08 Jun 2011) Wed 01:04 AM »

Hi Timaru,

Well, it's a long time after March I know, but I have just updated the Rauparaha's Copper page & added your sightings to the distribution map.

Did you get chance to look for more this summer?

It would be interesting to see if the population around Geraldine is contigously (can't spell that word) linked with the population in North Canterbury. I did have a look up the Ashley Gorge & the lower Waimakariri in early-to-mid April, but didn't see any in those locations on the days I was there.

Robert.
« Last Edit: (08 Jun 2011) Wed 01:10 AM by Robert » Logged
Philip
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« Reply #3 on: (20 Jun 2011) Mon 09:55 PM »

Hello Robert

No, wasn't out that way on suitable days this summer, sorry, but intending to head back in December/January. There's quite a few sites that could be likely for rauparaha around there; I suspect that river valleys are the place to be checking. It may also show up along rivers out on the plains where there's suitable food plant. I had found that previously at Kakahu there were no coppers apeparing in Mid March; I suspect the flight season there is probably late Nov to late Feb. Coastal Timaru salutius can be on the wing until early April, and I've found salutius around L. Pukaki and Mt Cook in April also. Not sure what the variables here are; could be particular localities and particular seasons. Oh to have unlimited time to spend in the field to unravel these things......... I tend to focus more on beetles, but butterflies are an interesting diversion.

Salustius is common around Timaru - coastal sites and gullies, as well as the foothills. Feredayi occurs in many sites where M. australis grows - including a gully near my house on the inland edge of suburban Timaru - one showed up in my garden a couple of summers ago. Salustius is quite common there, feeding on M. australis as well, I guess.

If I have more findings, I'll let you know! Can send pix if that's useful, although you have a few already, I see.

Cheers,

Philip from Timaru
« Last Edit: (20 Jun 2011) Mon 09:58 PM by Timaru » Logged
Robert
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« Reply #4 on: (21 Jun 2011) Tue 01:35 PM »

Hi Philip,

Thanks for posting those observations. I am beginning to think that the Coppers have different flight times to what my research came up with, esp salutius. But until more surveying is done to prove that this is the case in many places & constant I am skepticle to modify flight times based on a few personal sightings. (This is why I launched the 'Sighting Report' page which will integrate with NZBRN's database). I know what you mean about having lots of time to unravel these mysteries, I think many of us feel that!

Pictures are always welcome as I will be able to build up a libary of photos of Copper variations. Also as we mentioned before, Dr Craw is visiting his Copper work, so it would be good to have examples of any variations, sub-species or new species he idenifies. And of course, Mr Patrick still has his findings to publish in his new book too.

[small]If you need my email, then once your logged into the forum, click on the white envelope under my mugshot & it'll open a new email with it in.[/small]
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Philip
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« Reply #5 on: (23 Jan 2012) Mon 09:57 PM »

Hello. I spent 2 days in the North Temple Valley at the back of Lake Ohau last week. I noticed common coppers everywhere; from 800m in the beech forest to 1200m in subalpine scrub. They were often in company with boulder coppers. I thought that the common coppers seemed slightly smaller than the ones I often observe around Timaru (and definitely smaller than the coppers I watched at Whakatane recently). Their flight seemed almost moth-like, compared to other copper populations, low and swift. This might be a way of coping with the strong winds in the open areas. The females had very prominent blue dots, with hardly any sign of these on the males, unlike many lowland South Canterbury individuals who have slight blue dots.
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