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Volume 7, 1874
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Note on Danais berenice.

“Note on Danais berenice,” by T. B. Gillies, M.H.R.

Herewith I present to the Institute three specimens of the large handsome butterfly identified by Mr. Fereday (Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. VI., p. 183) as Danais berenice. These were taken in February last at Hokianga, and sent me by my friend, Mr. Von Stürmer, R.M., who informs me that he has observed them in that locality for several years past. Two years ago I saw specimens taken at Whangarei by Mr. Mair and Mr. Reyburn, who had observed them in that locality for about two or three years before that time. One specimen was also observed in my garden at Mount Eden two years ago, but not captured. It will thus be seen that its occurrence in New Zealand is not uncommon, and can scarcely be said to be intermittent. *

[Footnote] * In a letter to me, dated Hokianga, 1st December, 1874, Major Von Stürmer writes,—“About those butterflies, Danais berenice.—The eggs are laid in the early part of February, and the grub changes his skin four, five, and six times. At the end of forty to forty-five days it spins a small web, and hangs itself by its tail; and in four or five days becomes a chrysalis, the most beautiful green and gold that can be imagined. It remains in this state fifteen to twenty-two days, according to heat of place, etc., and emerges the perfect insect. The caterpillar is very handsome—smooth skin, pale yellow ground, with black and purplish bands round the body, and four long black horns, two just above the head, and two at the extremity of the tail. I have sown lots of the seed in the bush of the plant that it feeds upon (I call it the scarlet cotton), so have hopes that the animal may become plentiful. I reared upwards of twenty from the eggs last year, and let most of them go to increase and multiply.”