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Argyrophenga harrisi

Harris's tussock

The three endemic species of tussock butterflies are all restricted to the South Island. Their nearest relatives live in Australia.

This species (also known as tussock ringlet and Nelson tussock butterfly) is named after entomologist Anthony Clifford Harris, in recognition of his lifelong work on NZ insects.

It is restricted to montane grasslands of NW South Island, where it can share the habitat with any of the other tussock butterflies.

Family
Nymphalidae
Biostatus
Endemic
Host Plant
Snow tussocks (Chionochloa spp.)
Egg
White to pale green at first, then mottled brown. Six days. Barrel-shapped with 15-18 vertical ribs.
Larva
Green with white sub-dorsal stripe. Up to 28 mm when fully grown.
Pupa
Elongated, green, forked head. 12-18 days.
Adult/Imago
Weak, hopping flight.
Wingspan
33-44 mm wingspan.
Overwinters
Overwintering has not been researched but is likely to be with half-grown caterpillars sheltering in the base of the tussocks.
Range
Subalpine, 800 - 2000 m. North-west Nelson down to Lewis Pass.

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