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Butterflies of New Zealand facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

The butterflies of New Zealand include twelve endemic species, as well as several introduced and migrant species. Lepidoptera, which includes the butterflies and moths, is the third largest insect order in New Zealand.

Species list

Lycaena boldenarum 1192571
boulder copper (Lycaena boldenarum)
Red Admiral Butterfly at Zealandia
red admiral (Vanessa gonerilla)
Percnodaimon merula 1179344
black mountain ringlet (Percnodaimon merula)
Argyrophenga antipodum by Jérôme Albre
common tussock (Argyrophenga antipodum)
Scientific name Local English name Māori name Native/introduced/migrant Conservation status
Catopsilia pomona (Fabricius, 1775) lemon emigrant very rare migrant
Pieris rapae (Linnaeus, 1758) white butterfly pepe ma introduced
Lycaena boldenarum White, 1862 boulder copper pepe para riki native, endemic
Lycaena salustius (Fabricius, 1793) common copper pepe para riki native, endemic
Lycaena feredayi (Bates, 1867) glade copper pepe para riki native, endemic
Lycaena rauparaha (Fereday, 1877) Rauparaha's copper mokarakare native, endemic
Lampides boeticus (Linnaeus, 1767) long-tailed blue native (self-introduced)
Zizina otis labradus (Godart, 1824) common blue pepe ao uri native or possibly introduced
Zizina oxleyi (C. & R. Felder, 1865) southern blue native, endemic
Tirumala hamata hamata (MacLeay, 1826) Australian blue tiger very rare migrant
Danaus plexippus (Linnaeus, 1758) monarch kahuku introduced
Danaus petilia (Stoll, 1790) lesser wanderer rare migrant
Junonia villida calybe Godart, 1819 Australian meadow argus very rare migrant
Hypolimnas bolina nerina (Fabricius, 1775) blue moon regular migrant
Vanessa itea (Fabricius, 1775) yellow admiral kahu kowhai native
Vanessa gonerilla gonerilla (Fabricius, 1775) [New Zealand] red admiral kahu kura native, endemic
Vanessa gonerilla ida (Alfken, 1899) Chatham Island red admiral kahu kura native, endemic
Vanessa kershawi (McCoy, 1868) Australian painted lady pepe parahua regular migrant
Melanitis leda bankia (Fabricius, 1775) evening brown very rare migrant
Percnodaimon merula (Hewitson, 1875) black mountain ringlet pepe pouri native, endemic
Erebiola butleri Fereday, 1879 Butler's ringlet pepe pouri native, endemic
Dodonidia helmsii Butler, 1884 forest ringlet native, endemic serious decline
Argyrophenga antipodum Doubleday, 1845 common tussock native, endemic
Argyrophenga harrisi Craw, 1978 Harris's tussock native, endemic
Argyrophenga janitae Craw, 1978 Janita's tussock native, endemic


Very little is known about any butterfly extinctions since human settlement of New Zealand since they leave few remains. The majority of New Zealand invertebrates are found in forests, so it is possible that some butterflies became extinct due to the large scale forest clearance after human settlement.

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