The Difference between Moths and Butterflies

The Difference between Moths and Butterflies

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.

Copper Butterfly

Six differences between butterflies and moths are:
  1. Wings

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.

  1. Antenna

Moths have short feathery antenna.

Butterflies have thin, long antennas with a club or swelling at the tip.

  1. Activity

Many moths are active at night.

All butterflies are active during the day.

  1. Pupa

Most moths create a silky cocoon

Butterflies make a shiny chrysalis.

  1. Caterpillar

The coat of a moths caterpillar stage is fuzzy.

The coat of a butterflies caterpillar is smoother than a moths.

  1. Body Shape

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






A to Z of Banks Track features

A fun A to Z of Banks Track Features, Flora Fauna.

  Akaroa harbour to oceanic views,   Beech forest and bellbirds.
  Coasts, covenants and cliffs. Dolphins diving within the
  Ebbs and flows of the Pohatu Marine Reserve.   Following farm tracks and forest tracks through
  Geographical features.    Hebe’s, history and Hinewai Reserve.
  Indigenous and introduced flora and fauna.    Jewelled geckos,
  Kahikatea, kawakawa and kānuka.    Lancewood, little owl and ladybirds.
  Mt Cook in the distance.    Navigate near the cliffs.
  Observe native orchids, owls and oystercatchers.    Populations of penguin and pīpipi in

QE II, DOC and BPCT covenants.


  Red admiral butterflies breeding on ongaonga
  Shy sheep and silky seals.    Totara, and toadstools
  Under overhanging vegetation.    Volcanic views,

 Waterfalls and walkways, with added


   Xtras available

Years of conservation efforts in our


   Zoological paradise.


Talk the Walk Radio Interview

Talk the Walk Radio Interview

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.

Our Story

Our Story

Our Story – Banks Track

We love sharing our backyard with visitors from all over the world. Our Banks Track has been called “a kiwi favourite”, “NZ’s great walk”, “a great walking experience” and “the best NZ walk”.

Here’s how we got started…

Banks Track opened in 1989. A group of neighbours were seeking solutions to the farming downturn of the 1980s. Together they created a co-operative and established NZ’s first private walking track. We are still operating, 30+ years later.

Copy of visitors book with the first Banks Track walkers in 1989.

First Banks Track Walkers 1989

The original four-day Banks Peninsula Track (with a two day option) grew into a “must-do” activity for many walkers from both New Zealand and overseas. Retirement of one landowner in 2017 resulted in change, so after 27 years the four-day track became the Three Day Classic Walk (with a two-day hikers option). These three days offer everything the four days were able to offer except a visit to one bay, and the silver lining is that many of our walkers find it easier to plan a three day escape than a four day one.

Small red cabins were Banks Track original Otanerito accommodation 1989

Banks Track original Otanerito Cabins 1989

There are now five landowner partners. Each takes responsibility for the track that runs through their land and the accommodation they provide. Together, the landowners, and a few helpers, manage the finances, booking system, health and safety, marketing etc. It operates as a traditional family run Peninsula business. To put a face to the Banks Track “family” take a look at our Team.

We are a group of rural folk, with our hearts in the land we care for. Each landowner, whether farming, running a tourist operation, or managing a nature reserve, works their own property as well as the Banks Track operation. Each of us is involved in conservation and is a part of the Banks Peninsula “Wildside Project” of conservation protection and restoration.

Banks Track walker looking over harbour view

Banks Track walker and harbour view

This diversity of ownership, coupled with such a range of landscape, makes the Banks Track not only the original, but also the most unique private walking track in New Zealand.

Take a look through our Banks Track website and then come and walk in our back yard.

The Wildside

The Wildside

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

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 by David Boyle

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 …