Story: Butterflies and moths

Alpine butterfly (3rd of 3)

Alpine butterfly

The black mountain ringlet butterfly (Percnodaimon merula) survives in the harsh alpine zones of the South Island. It is dark to absorb sunlight, and basks on rocks to increase its body temperature. When warmed, adults are alert and fly about. They lay their eggs on sun-warmed rocks so that they incubate faster. The life cycle of the species can extend over two or three years. For much of this time they are dormant, as the alpine environment’s low temperatures restrict activity for half of every year.

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Photograph by Brian Patrick

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How to cite this page:

Brian Patrick, 'Butterflies and moths - Habitat and ecological roles', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/10536/alpine-butterfly (accessed 1 April 2020)

Story by Brian Patrick, published 24 Sep 2007