Whilst harvesting the Strawberry Tree for fruit with which to make our jam, I was astounded by the number of butterflies who were also enjoying the bounties this tree provided. As I was picking fruit, the butterflies were supping the nectar from the bell-like flowers which will provide us with next years crop. I was loathe to disturb them, but they were fairly forgiving, fluttering away long enough for me to get my prize and then returning back to the spot they had just vacated to continue to feed and pollinate. There were branches, which as I approached to harvest, were covered in various types of butterflies, which fluttered around me as I picked the fruit. It was truly magical.
After more research, I was surprised to discover that what I thought were two distinct butterfly types, were actually the male and female versions of the same type of butterfly. The Hypolimnas Bolina or Common Eggfly. I much prefer the scientific name, there is something completely ‘unromantic’ about a ‘common eggfly,’ but on further reading, it is referred to in New Zealand as the Blue Moon Butterfly (much better) or the Great Eggfly. I was excited when I discovered as well, that I had managed to capture a photo of both the male and female specimens. It is a species of Nymphalid Butterfly and the females are known for their maternal care, guarding the leaves where their eggs have been laid. Maybe that is why they kept on returning to the tree whilst I was harvesting. I shall have to have a closer look next time.