Female Niue Blue Click to enlarge image
Niue Blue Nacaduba niueensis underside of female Image: Dave Britton & Rob Lachlan
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    niueensis
    Genus
    Nacaduba
    Subfamily
    Polyommatinae
    Family
    Lycaenidae
    Super Family
    Papillionoidea
    Order
    Lepidoptera
    Class
    Insecta
    Phylum
    Arthropoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Number of Species
    1
  • Feeding Habits
    herbivore

Introduction

The Niue Blue is the only endemic butterfly species found on the remote Pacific island of Niue. It was described by the Australian Museum Research Associate Rob Lachlan in 2012 from a pair of specimens, a male captured by Rob, and a female from the collections in the Bishop Museum, Hawaii.

Because there are only a handful of plant and animal species which are unique to Niue this butterfly has particular importance to the people of the island. The Premier of Niue intends to make this species the national butterfly for the island, and to feature this insect on a special run of postal stamps.

The Australian Museum is honoured to act as custodians for the type specimens of this rare butterfly on behalf of the people of Niue.


Dear Rob,

Fakalofa lahi atu from the Rock of Polynesia,

On behalf of the Government and people of Niue, I have much pleasure in thanking you for your work and letter dated 25th June 2012 regarding a new endemic species of butterfly found in our country.

We are obviously very happy to know that a local butterfly exists no where else "but here on Niue".

We will certainly make it a national butterfly, and we will work with the Philatelic and Numismatic Company to highlight the importance of this and through some special stamps and coins.

Please accept our sincere appreciation for your diligent hard work to identify this rare species

With kind regards,

Honourable Toke T. Talagi
Premier of Niue

Letter from the Premier of Niue regards Niue Blue



Identification

This rather small brown butterfly cannot be confused with any other species occurring on the island of Niue. The upper side is brown in both sexes, with a scattering of blue scales at the base of the wings in some female specimens, whilst the underside has an intricate pattern of wavy brown, dark brown and white lines.


Female Niue Blue
Female Niue Blue upperside. Image: Dave Britton & Rob Lachlan
© Australian Museum

Distribution

Found only in a few isolated populations on the island of Niue.

Feeding and diet

The adults are nearly always associated with their larval food plant, a widespread tree species in the genus Alphitonia

Further reading

Lachlan, R.B. 2012. A new species of Nacaduba Moore (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) from Niue, southwestern Pacific Ocean. Australian Entomologist, 39(2):49-54.