Butterflies of New Zealand

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New Zealand red admiral

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

List of New Zealand butterflies[edit]

Australian painted lady
Forest ringlet
Red admiral
Yellow admiral
Common name Māori name Binomial name Native/endemic/introduced Conservation status[1]
Australian blue tiger Danaus hamatus hamatus casual visitor
Australian meadow argus Precis villida calybe casual visitor
Australian painted lady pepe parahua Vanessa (Cynthia) kershawi native
Black mountain ringlet pepe pouri Percnodaimon pluto endemic
Blue moon Hypolimnas bolina nerina
Boulder copper Lycaena boldenarum endemic
Butler's ringlet pepe pouri Erebiola butleri endemic
Chatham Island red admiral kahukura Vanessa gonerilla ida endemic
Common blue pepe aouri Zizina otis labradus native
Common copper pepe pora riki Lycaena salustius endemic
Common emigrant or lemon emigrant Catopsilia pomona pomona casual visitor
Common evening brown Melanitis leda bankia casual visitor
Glade copper Lycaena feredayi endemic
Forest ringlet Dodonidia helmsii endemic serious decline
Lesser grass blue Zizina otis casual visitor
Lesser wanderer Danaus chrysippus petilia casual visitor
Long-tailed blue Lampides boeticus native
Monarch Danaus plexippus plexippus native
New Zealand red admiral kahukura Vanessa gonerilla gonerilla endemic
Rauparaha's copper Lycaena rauparaha endemic
Small white (white butterfly) pepe ma Pieris rapae rapae introduced
Southern blue Zizina otis oxleyi endemic
Tussock ringlet Argyrophenga antipodum endemic
Tussock ringlet Argyrophenga harrisi endemic
Tussock ringlet Argyrophenga janitae endemic
Yellow admiral kahukowhai Vanessa itea native


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 likely that some butterflies became extinct due to the large scale forest clearance after human settlement.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hitchmough, R.; Bull, L.; Cromarty, P. (January 2007). New Zealand Threat Classification lists 2005 (PDF). Wellington: Department of Conservation. 
  2. ^ The State of New Zealand’s Environment 1997, Report Ref. ME612, Ministry for the Environment, Wellington, New Zealand.

Further reading[edit]

  • Parkinson, Brian (c. 2000). Butterflies and moths of New Zealand. Reed. ISBN 0-7900-0734-7. 
  • Gibbs, George (1980). New Zealand Butterflies: Identification and Natural History. Auckland, NZ: Collins. ISBN 0-00-216955-X. 

External links[edit]