Do you know the difference between moths and butterflies?
Aotearoa/New Zealand has around 25 butterfly species and around 1700 different moth species.
Red Admiral Butterfly
Butterflies you will see in the Banks Track area are the Red and Yellow Admirals, Monarch, Common Copper and Common Blue butterflies. There are many more moths. Most related to the caterpillars’ host plant and found near them such as the Kawakawa Looper moth, the Green Coprosma Carpet moth, the Porina moth (a favouriate food for the Ruru/Owl) and the Kowhai Owlet moth.
The cute face of a NZ Moth
Most people, even those who claim they don’t like insects, like butterflies but fewer like moths and write them off as dull light-seeking flying bugs. How wrong these people are.
Many moths in Aotearoa/New Zealand are day flyers and they are beautifully coloured, such as the Alpine grassland Orange, the Magpie Moth and the Dark-banded Carpet Moth.
Six differences between butterflies and moths are:
Moths land with their wings spread and rest with their wings open.
Butterflies land with their wings folded back and rest with their wings closed.
Moths have short feathery antenna.
Butterflies have thin, long antennas with a club or swelling at the tip.
Many moths are active at night.
All butterflies are active during the day.
Most moths create a silky cocoon
Butterflies make a shiny chrysalis.
The coat of a moths caterpillar stage is fuzzy.
The coat of a butterflies caterpillar is smoother than a moths.
The moth is shorter and fatter than a butterfly with thicker hair.
The butterfly body is skinnier and longer than the moth.
A Lichen Moth
Talk the Walk – RNZ Interview about Banks Track.
Jessie Mulligan on RNZ’s Talk the Walk chats with Tricia Hewlett, one of our team, about Banks Track.
She chats about how Banks Track came to be and the last 30 years of running Aotearoa/New Zealand’s original private walking track. They chat about the route through farm and forest, and along cliffs and coasts. She lists some of the wildlife you could see on the way and chats about the sidetracks and views.
You can hear the interview here.
The Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust run the Wildside Project, a large scale collaboration of landowners, Christchurch City Council, Department of Conservation, Environment Canterbury, and BPCT for the protection of a variety of endemic, threatened, and iconic species.
The Banks Track is in the heart of the Wildside of Banks Peninsula.
25% of the Wildside is now held in reserve protecting biodiversity.
Map of the BPCT Wildside Project
The project began for the protection of breeding sites of pelagic bird species such as the endemic little blue penguin, the only titi (sooty shearwater) colony in Canterbury, and yellow-eyed penguin at their northern breeding range. The Wildside has also been recognised internationally in the IUCN Invertebrate Red Data Book (1983) for a place of high invertebrate endemism. Other iconic and threatened species outcomes include the protection of jewelled gecko, spotted skink, the Banks Peninsula tree weta and Akaroa daisy (both found only on the Wildside).
Sooty shearwater. Ventral view of adult in flight. At sea off Banks Peninsula, April 2009. Image © David Boyle
The Wildside includes the largest penguin colony on mainland New Zealand.
The Wildside is a nationally significant area for the protection of sea bird breeding sites as it bounds the only two marine reserves on the east coast of the South Island, Pohatu and the Akaroa Marine Reserves. With the largest penguin colony on mainland New Zealand at Flea Bay.
The Wildside covers 13,500ha and focuses on habitat protection, with 25% of the Wildside held in private or public reserve, and predator control, with over 700 predator traps controlling feral cats, ferrets, stoats, weasels, and possums used in this extensive trapping programme.
Threatened species found only within the Wildside include the Banks Peninsula tree weta and Akaroa daisy.
Long before Predator Free NZ became a catch phrase the families of the “wildside” along the Banks Track were trapping predators to save the flora and fauna of their backyard.
Mark Armstrong of Stony Bay ‘blitzed’ the ferrets in the 1990’s as he saw them decimating the penguin and shearwater breeding sites on his farm.
Like Mark and his team at Stony Bay, the Help’s at Flea Bay were also busy trapping stoats, ferrets, cats, rats, mice, weasels and possums in an attempt to lower the predator numbers allowing some of the little blue penguin to achieve adulthood. On Hinewai Reserve in the early days the main activity was to eliminate wild goats while other predators were also dispatched where possible.
This work continues …