Introducing Zizina otis labradus

Common Blue Butterfly at rest.

Common Blue Butterfly at rest.

Zizina otis labradus, the Common Blue is one of our most common butterflies, yet, as tiny as it is,  it’s often overlooked.

Widespread in the Southern Hemisphere, it measures between 17 and 27mm and has broad distribution from grasslands and open spaces with sand and gravel to suburban gardens, lawns and fields. Its fat, green, slug-like caterpillar feeds on small leguminous plants such as clover and vetch. It is frequently seen around Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere.

The Common Blue generally flies close to the ground with a jerking flight pattern that makes it hard to follow. They  often rest on vegetation or rocks with their pale-violet-blue wings closed, or slightly open; and if they are in the same habitat, they’re often seen flying with the Common Copper butterfly.

The male of the species has a stronger blue colouring and the female tends to be a duller grey. Both male and female have a silvery grey underside to their wings, with variable brown and white spots.