New Zealand Moths And Orchids

Lichen Moths and Forest Ringlets 

By Cushla McGaughey

North Island Lichen Moth

New Zealand has fewer than 30 named butterfly species, but has an abundance of moths. Some of the 2,000 species fly during the day. Many are brightly or strikingly patterned.

The South Island Lichen Moth is highly valued enough to feature on the back of our $100 note.

The North Island Lichen Moth is distinguished by being the only moth or butterfly with asymmetric wing patterns.

Not many people know of the Forest Ringlet, which is not closely related to any other of our native butterfly species. Once found throughout New Zealand’s forests, it is now very rare and restricted to a few remote areas above 600 metres, such as the Tararua Ranges.

On windy days the butterfly will briefly take flight before alighting on a sunny branch to rest.On calm days it flies up into the tree tops to sunbathe with outstretched wings, descending lower to feed on flowers.

An orchid with many names

Winika is a common native orchid that usually grows on well-lit tree trunks and branches.

It is also known as the

~ Lady’s Slipper Orchid, from the shape of its flower buds

~ Christmas Orchid, because it flowers in December to January

~ Bamboo Orchid, because of its cane-like stems.