Monarchs are the most commonly seen butterflies, but here are some others worth looking out for:
• Red admirals ( Vanessa gonerilla) are endemic and found throughout New Zealand. Their preferred host plant where eggs are laid is the native tree nettle, Urtica ferox or ongaonga.
They are fairly common except around Auckland where the tree nettle is rare and in the far north. Look for red admirals year round in clearings and margins of bush, parks and gardens.
• Yellow admirals ( Vanessa itea) are self-introduced from Australia and are widely distributed around the country. Eggs are usually laid on introduced stinging nettles Urtica dioica.
Adults are found in open country, parks and gardens.
• Common blues ( Zizina labradus) are widespread through Australia, the Pacific Islands and the North Island, and northern and western South Island.
Adults can be seen flying low in sunny spots in gardens, farmland and wasteground from spring to autumn.
Eggs are laid on low-growing legumes like clover and trefoil varieties.
• Common coppers (Lycaena species) are endemic with very similar species locally abundant throughout the country. They are found all year round in bush clearings and margins, scrub, sand dunes and tussocks.
The eggs are laid on po¯huehue ( Muehlenbeckia complexa), and the larvae eat the leaves and the flowers.