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Argyrophenga janitae

Janita's tussock
Photo by Roger Frost

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

Janita's tussock is found in eastern native grasslands of the montane zone of NW Nelson and Marlborough, south to ranges of the far south. The orange wing patches are virtually identical colour in male and female and are crossed by several lines of brown scales. There is no silver margin to the underside of the hindwing.

Host Plant
Snow tussock (Chionochloa spp.)
White to pale green, then mottled brown. Barrel-shaped, 15-18 vertical ribs. Six days.
Long and slim with slightly darker stripes down the side, tapering towards the tail. Five instars. Up to 28 mm.
Elongated and green with a forked head. Attached to tussock leaves. 12-18 days' pupation.
Weak flight, appears to be hopping. Heavily outlined veins on both wings. The orange wing patches are virtually identical in colour in both the male and female, and are crossed by several lines of brown scales. Lacks silver margin to underside of hindwings.
30-45 mm
Overwintering has not been researched but is likely to be with half-grown caterpillars sheltering in the base of the tussocks (i.e. the same as forest ringlet).
Eastern side of South Island as far south as 45 degree parallel. Montane to subalpine tussock, 500-2000 m.

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