Butterflies of New Zealand
Common Tussock
Argyrophenga antipodum  DOUBLEDAY, 1845
subfamily - SATYRINAE
Tribe -
Argyrophenga antipodum  Nugget Point, Otago, South Island, NZ Nigel Peace
The genus Argyrophenga comprises of 3 species - antipodum, harrisi and janitae, all of which are endemic to New Zealand.
Argyrophenga antipodum is the commonest and most widespread species - it is found only on South Island, on the eastern side of the Southern Alps.
This species is found in grassy habitats at elevations between 0-2000m but is commonest between about 500-1500m.
The eggs are laid singly on grasses including Poa, Festuca, Chionochloa and Agropyron, or may be dropped randomly among them in flight. The fully grown larva is green with a pair of pale greenish-yellow dorsal stripes which continue onto the head horns. There is also a thin greenish-white stripe below the spiracles. The pupa can be either pale green or straw coloured, and is suspended by the cremaster from a grass stem. There is one generation per year in lowland areas but it is suspected that larvae may pass 2 winters at high elevations.
Adult behaviour

The butterflies have a weak bobbing flight. When settling they often land awkwardly among grasses and have trouble finding a footing. They will bask with wings fully outspread in calm sunny weather but keep them closed if it is overcast or breezy. If alarmed they flash open their wings momentarily to expose the diematic ocelli, and then instantly drop deep into the grass tussocks where the striped undersides of their hindwings afford them excellent camouflage among the stems and grass blades.



Contact  /  About me

Butterfly-watching holidays

Trip reports

UK latest sightings

Frequently asked questions

Strange but true !

Taxonomy & Evolution



Enemies of butterflies

Survival strategies

Migration & dispersal

Habitats - UK / Palaearctic

Habitats - Tropical rainforests

Butterfly world census

Butterflies of the World :

British Isles


Amazon & Andes

North America

temperate Asia


Indian subcontinent

Malaysia & Borneo

Papua New Guinea

Australia & N.Z.

Insects of Britain & Europe

Insects of Amazonia

Moths of the Andes

Saturniidae - Silkmoths

Caterpillars of the World

Butterfly Photography

Recommended Books



Code of practice

Copyright - text & images

Copyright - text & images






All photographs, artwork, text & website design are the property of Adrian Hoskins ( unless otherwise stated ) and are protected by Copyright. Photographs or text on this website must not be reproduced in part or in whole or published elsewhere without prior written consent of Adrian Hoskins / learnaboutbutterflies.com

Site hosted by Just Host