A new tussock butterfly species (Nymphalidae: Satyrinae: Argyrophenga) for New Zealand?

Hamish Patrick *1, Rob Cruickshank 1, Steve Wratten 1, Brian Patrick 2

1 Lincoln University, PO Box 84, Lincoln, 7647, New Zealand
2 Central stories museum and art gallery, 21 Centennial Ave, Alexandra, New Zealand

Over the last ten years large series of tussock butterflies (Argyrophenga spp.) were collected from throughout the South Island. It was noticed that specimens of Argyrophenga antipodum found in alpine areas of Central Otago differed in both morphology and behaviour to those found elsewhere. Using a combination of morphological, molecular, behavioural, and ecological information we are investigating the taxonomy of these butterflies, taking an integrated approach. DNA sequences from mitochondrial and nuclear genes were used to test the hypothesis that there is an additional fourth species of Argyrophenga present in Central Otago, which is distinct from the three named species; A. antipodum, A. janitae and A. harrisi.

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