Butterfly Discovery Project

Many NZ butterflies have not been accurately identified. Most people seem to think there are two butterflies in NZ: the monarch and the cabbage white… but that’s not so! We could have more than 50 species and some are already on the endangered list.

Common copper, Angela Moon-Jones

Every New Zealander has the right to know how special our species are… and we want to engage the right person to do the research, using DNA and other techniques, to identify them accurately. We could discover some treasures!

The late Don Horne labelled this as a Rauparaha’s copper, but we are told it’s a
Maui’s copper, Lycaena edna. And that’s what the Butterfly Discovery Project is all about!

The Butterfly Discovery Project will start by investigating New Zealand’s largest group of butterflies, the copper butterflies, currently lumped into four groups (the Lycaenas). There could, in fact, be more than 20 individual species just with the coppers!

Boulder copper, Don Horne

Taxonomy is a very important and critical science: discovering, classifying and naming organisms so that we can better understand them and restore their habitats. Sir David Attenborough knows it, and as Ruud Kleinpaste says “if we can’t identify them how can we save them from extinction?”

Common copper, Martin Gascoigne-Pees

We need to do the research to find out… and research requires funding! If you love New Zealand, if you love our endemic species, even a few dollars will help us reach our goal. You can help! Please support this project by donating to our Givealittle page.

Common copper, Don Horne