Have you noticed that there are less lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) around this spring? Scientists want to find out if this is true and if their populations are declining in New Zealand, but they need your help.
Between 10th and 30th of November, everyone has been asked to go out an spend an hour looking for and counting butterflies. You can go anywhere; your garden, local park or reserve or even one of our national parks.
Here’s what you need to do:
You can count them at multiple sites such as your bach or local park – make sure that the location is recorded on each form and add the postal code (or postal code of nearest street address) if known.
The best time is early in the afternoon but definitely before 3pm (when the garden is warmest).
Choose a location where there are lots of colourful flowers (for nectar) or host plant(s). Where there is stinging nettle you should see admirals. Where there is Muehlenbeckia you should see coppers.
Choose a sunny, still day. Butterflies don’t fly when they are cold or it is very windy.
Count the most you see of each species at any one time. If you see three monarchs together on a plant or flying, enter 3. If you see at the most 1 but see it on multiple occasions, record this as 1.
Count only adults as they are not interested in eggs, larvae or pupae.
Your count is also useful if you see none, enter a 0 against that species.
Encourage friends to do counts too. This year’s data will give us a baseline for future years. Future years’ information will show trends in populations and the status of our butterflies and day-flying moths.