Art. XXXVI.—Description of a Species of Butterfly belonging to the Family Satyridæ, Westwood.
[Read before the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, 20th November, 1875.]
Oreina (?) Othello.
Antennæ, sharp, slender, jet-black annulated with white; club compressed, lamellate and broadly spoon-shaped, concave on the under and
convex on the upper side with the apex curled back; underside of outer margin of club deep yellow, extending partly down the shaft.
Labial palpi, of moderate length, contiguous, slightly diverging towards the apex, obliquely elevated in front of the head, densely clothed with hairy scales, three-jointed, middle joint long, third joint very small.
Fore-legs, sooty-black, rudimental, very small, rather smaller in the female than in the male; tarsi not jointed, two rudimental claws on the tarsi of the female.
Middle and posterior legs, sooty-black, ungues double.
Wings, sooty, velvety-black, shot with rich bronzy-brown; fringe same colour. Expanse, Mas., 19–21 lines; Fem., 24–25 lines.
Upperside—Primaries, entire; costa and hind margin convex; apex and anal-angle (the latter considerably) rounded; a submarginal patch (slightly paler than the ground colour) from three to four lines broad near the costa, and narrower towards the anal angle. Within the patch are several confluent black ocelli with small silvery-white pupils. There are generally five of these ocelli, three of which are in a line drawn from the costa (near the apex) towards the middle of the inner margin; the pupil of the ocellus nearest the costa being very minute and in some specimens obsolete, and the ocellus farthest from the costa being the largest of all the ocelli. The two other ocelli are respectively situated in the areolets between the third subcostal, externo-medial, and sub-externo-medial nervures, and are in some specimens followed by a third ocellus, detached from the others and situated in the areolet formed by the sub-externo-medial and interno-medial nervures; these latter ocelli form a sub-marginal row.
Secondaries, orbiculate-triangulate; hind margin slightly denticulated, but denticulation hardly perceptible; discoidal cell closed; color same as the primaries, but without any markings.
Under side, colour and markings of the upper side repeated, but rather paler and more richly bronzed.
The accompanying figure will help to illustrate the above description.
Habitat, Western range of mountains, Province of Canterbury, New Zealand; also, mountains at Lake Guyon, Province of Nelson, New Zealand.
This interesting butterfly is found at a great altitude, frequenting the slopes formed by the débris from the disintegration of the mountain peaks. No vegetation is seen on these slopes, the débris being composed of small angulated stones continually slipping down the incline. The butterfly is generally seen flying in the hot sunshine, close to the surface of the stones,
and probably attracted by the radiated heat; and the extremely ragged state of the wings of so many specimens may possibly be accounted for by the sharp edges of the stones cutting them as the butterflies are driven along by the strong winds.
I am indebted to my friend, Mr. J. D. Enys, of Castle Hill Station, for the first specimens that came into my possession.
I have already recorded the discovery of this species (“Trans. N.Z. Inst.,” Vol. IV., p. 217), and named it “Pluto,” at the same time placing it in the genus Brebia, but having since ascertained that such name had been previously appropriated to another butterfly, I have substituted the specific name of “Othello,” and finding that Professor Westwood distinguishes the genus Oreina from Erebia, and other genera of the family by the former having none of the nervures of the wings dilated, I have now placed this species under that genus.