Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Discovery Confirms What Butterfly Lovers Suspected

Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust C/- NZ Post, Russell, 0255

Telephone +64 9 403 8543 Fax +64 9 403 8544

PRESS RELEASE for immediate release

Discovery Confirms What New Zealand Butterfly Lovers Suspected

Scientists who discovered the world's thinnest caterpillar (/Houdinia flexilissima/) confirm what NZ butterfly lovers have been saying... that the conservation status of lepidoptera species needs urgent appraisal.

"We are asking New Zealanders to count butterflies seen on regular walks this summer, and to log them into our website," said Jacqui Knight, one of the Trustees of the Monarch Butterfly NZ Trust. "These figures will be compared with similar data captured in future years, and we will soon know if butterflies are on the decline, as many of our members suspect."

"We need citizen scientists everywhere to help us."

“The Butterfly Project, involving many NZ butterfly-lovers, will give us an idea of how many species we have left, and where they are located.”

South Island lepidopterist Brian Patrick is right behind the project. He talks of a tiny purple copper butterfly which now exists only in one coastal carpark.

“It’s teetering on the edge of survival,” he said. “The plight of our butterfly fauna is heavily dependant on human respect if they are to survive and thrive. Several butterflies are threatened with extinction even before they are described.”

According to the Monarch Butterfly NZ Trust, NZ’s Red Admiral is another classic example.

“Renowned UK lepidopterist Nigel Venters told me that our Red Admiral is the most beautiful in the world,” Jacqui said. “But in many places you can’t find it any more, while it was once common all over the country."

“Admirals breed on stinging nettle - and gardeners and developers think this is a ‘nasty weed’ to be eradicated.”

The Trust advocates a compromise - letting it grow at the back of a garden, or in a wild spot, where it won't bother humans.

Because there are no current statistics as such as to the distribution of NZ butterflies, the Monarch Butterfly NZ Trust is encouraging New Zealanders to get involved in science. The Trust's project has been supported by funding from the Mazda Foundation and Lotteries Environment & Heritage.

Tom Brereton, Head of Monitoring at Butterfly Conservation in the UK, acknowledged the Monarch Butterfly NZ Trust in recognising the need for research here.

"You have some beautiful endemic butterflies," he said, "and while there is not a huge variety, it would be a sad day if any of them were to become extinct, for whatever reason."

He said that in England, thanks to the efforts of over a thousand volunteers each year who carry out transect walks, there is a very good knowledge of the national status of butterflies - data that is vital to help conserve them.

"The monitoring has identified that England's butterflies are increasingly at risk, with worryingly 30% fewer than a decade ago," he said.

The Large Blue butterfly which became extinct in Britain in 1979 is now in a state of recovery, thanks to imported larvae and their habitat being reappraised. This summer an incredible 10,000 flew in various parts of the English countryside. That is more than have flown in Britain at any time in the last 60 years.

"Because butterflies are widely accepted as good indicators of ecosystem health, the decline of butterflies was worrying," continued Tom. "The Butterfly Project in NZ will have very important implications for biodiversity in general."

The host plant of what the scientists describe as the 'world's thinnest caterpillar' is found in one of three remaining peat bogs on the North Island. Over the years, drainage and conversion of peat bogs to pasture has resulted in habitat loss.

“We have rolled our butterfly fauna back to the mountains and far-flung places,” added Brian Patrick. “So that now many once familiar species are no longer found in cities, towns or the surrounding countryside.”

“Sadly, young New Zealanders are no longer familiar with even our most common butterflies because of the elimination of them from our cities, towns and countryside.”

“Good on the Monarch Trust for taking up this initiative.”


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Onetai Station: Overseas Investment Office Puts Ceol & Muir On Notice

The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has issued a formal warning to Ceol & Muir and its owners, Argentinian brothers Rafael and Federico Grozovsky, for failing to provide complete and accurate information when they applied to buy Onetai Station in 2013. More>>


Tomorrow, The UN: Feds President Takes Reins At World Farming Body

Federated Farmers president Dr William Rolleston has been appointed acting president of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) at a meeting in Geneva overnight. More>>


I Sing The Highway Electric: Charge Net NZ To Connect New Zealand

BMW is turning Middle Earth electric after today announcing a substantial contribution to the charging network Charge Net NZ. This landmark partnership will enable Kiwis to drive their electric vehicles (EVs) right across New Zealand through the installation of a fast charging highway stretching from Kaitaia to Invercargill. More>>


Watch This Space: Mahia Rocket Lab Launch Site Officially Opened

Economic Development Minster Steven Joyce today opened New Zealand’s first orbital launch site, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, on the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island’s east coast. More>>


Marketing Rocks!
Ig Nobel Award Winners Assess The Personality Of Rocks

A Massey University marketing lecturer has received the 2016 Ig Nobel Prize for economics for a research project that asked university students to describe the “brand personalities” of three rocks. More>>


Nurofen Promotion: Reckitt Benckiser To Plead Guilty To Misleading Ads

Reckitt Benckiser (New Zealand) intends to plead guilty to charges of misleading consumers over the way it promoted a range of Nurofen products, the Commerce Commission says. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news