Art. XIII.—Notes on Entomological Collecting Tours during the Seasons 1908–9 and 1909–10.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 6th July, 1910.]
A. Season 1908–9.
The following is an account of a collecting tour undertaken by myself and Mr. F. S. Oliver on behalf of the Dominion Museum during the season 1908–9.
Our instructions were to collect as many specimens of Lepidoptera as possible, for the purpose of making comparisons between series of species from different localities.
We started collecting on the 2nd November, 1908, and ended on the 30th March, 1909, practically five months in all.
On the 9th November, 1908, we journeyed from Dunedin to Moeraki, a small fishing seaport south of Oamaru. We were specially instructed to look for pupae and larvae of Argyrophenga antipodum, a peculiar variety being found in that locality. Although we failed to find any traces of antipodum, a large variety of moths was taken at treacle in the bush round the port.
We noted a large number of Melanchra ewingi flying about in the sun and feeding on the wallflower in Mr. Hart's garden.
The same evening we treacled again in the bush on the hillside, with satisfactory results. The catch included Leucania moderata, Melanchra decorata, M. disjungens, M. ewingi, M. levis, M. mutans, M. omoplaca, M. prionistis, M. plena, M. stipata, M. vitiosa, Rhapsa scotosialis, Selidosema dejectaria, S. panagrata, Venusia undosata, Chloroclystis bilineolata, Tatosoma agrionata, Elvia glaucata, Hydriomena callichlora, Asaphodes siris, and A. megaspilata.
Collecting in the daytime gave very poor results, only one Vanessa cardui being seen, but treacling in the evening was a greater success than ever. The night was warm, and the treacle was laid just after sundown. On one patch of treacle alone fifty Melanchra ewingi were counted, all struggling to get a share of the sugar.
In addition to the captures of the two previous nights, we got Orthosia comma, Melanchra neurae, and Agrotis ypsilon, besides two more Melanchra levis.
We left Moeraki next day, and proceeded to Waikouaiti and Waitati, but beyond a few common moths nothing worth recording was taken. No doubt the poor catches in this place were due to the attractiveness of the native flowers.
After spending a few days in the neighbourhood of Dunedin we proceeded to Outram, or, rather, Woodside, a small township at the foot of the Maungatua Range. There is some very fine native bush to be seen there, especially in a place called “The Glen.” Contrary to our expectations, and perhaps owing to the inclemency of the weather, our collecting was very poor. Night work was poor, and our only results were obtained by beating the bushes vigorously Melanchra ewingi was plentiful, and used with excellent results by the local sportsmen as a bait for trout-fishing.
On the 26th November we proceeded to Waipori, being instructed to make a special collection of M. disjungens from this locality. The country is mainly covered with tussock-grass. Our first evening's treacling was round the fence-posts, and although a biting cold wind was blowing we had fair results. Great was the excitement when it was noticed that there was a peculiar whitish moth unknown to us on the treacle, along with Leucania moderata, Orthosia comma, Melanchra ewingi, M. mutans, and M. disjungens. During our three days' stay there we got a remarkable series of this moth, which eventually proved to be Physetica caerulea. The forms range from an almost pure white with yellow spots to dark steelblue, the typical form. Such a remarkable case of variation is seldom met with, especially in one locality. The day collecting was very poor at Waipori, as the weather was dull and cold, with cold fogs at night. A few Argyrophenga antipodum were taken, and several species of Notoreas.
Our next rendezvous was Lumsden, en route for the Cold Lakes District.
At Lumsden we treacled on the fence-posts in the river-bed of the Oreti, the only vegetation being gorse-bushes. Good results were obtained, comprising Melanchra moderata, M. mutans, M. ewingi, M. disjungens, Orthosia comma, Leucania griseipennis, and Melanchra lithias. The last named was forwarded as mutans, but on inspection was found to be the rarer moth.
The following day a few Argyrophenga antipodum were taken on the hills near Lumsden, and immense numbers of Nyctemera annulata were seen everywhere.
Queenstown was reached the same day, and two days later, on the 7th December, we reached Macetown, our principal field for operations.
The following morning we found the ground covered with snow to a depth of 2 in. Macetown is situated at an altitude of 2,000 ft., and is subject to peculiarly rapid changes of climate. We were bitterly disappointed to see the higher hills covered in snow, as we were going to make special efforts to get alpine forms. However, the snow soon started to melt, and we impatiently waited for finer weather. In the evenings we treacled in many places round the township, having the schoolhouse for the centre of our operations.
During our stay at Macetown, from the 7th to the 21st December, we obtained an incredible number of moths at the treacle alone. Even on rainy and cold windy nights there used to be hundreds of the commoner moths round the treacle. The following is the list of the moths that were extremely common: Orthosia comma, Leucania atristriga, L. moderata, L. unica, Melanchra cucullina(?), M. disjungens, M. ewingi, M. mu'ans, M. plena, M. ustistriga, Bityla defigurata, and Agrotis ypsilon. The less-common varieties included Physetica caerulea, Leucania griseipennis, L. nullifera, L. semivittata, L. unica, Ichneutica ceraunias, Melanchra maya, M. paracausta, M. pictula, and M. rubescens. During those fourteen days we probably forwarded over sixteen hundred moths and butterflies to Wellington.
On Saturday the 12th December we made our first excursion into the localities known to be the habitat of Erebia pluto var. micans. Strange to say, a ‘ocality at an altitude of about 3,000 ft. on the Arrow River which at about the same time of the year in 1907 yielded many specimes of Erebia micans failed to give us any specimens. We took only one battered micans and saw one other, but were rewarded for our long tramp by getting a fine series of about eighty Metacrias huttoni on a tussocky island on the Arrow River. We did not see any females, but judged them to be present by the way the huttoni continually hovered over bunches of tussock, apparently on the look-out for something. A few Argyrophenga antipodum and several species of Notoreas were also taken that day.
Another locality was visited next day, and the results were better although the sun was continually being obscured by clouds. Erebia pluto can only be located when the sun is shining strongly and continuously. This beautiful black butterfly is then to be seen hovering over the shingle slips, and apparently following well-defined air-tracks. It was noticed that the best way to capture them was to sit close by a place they had been seen to pass, and keep perfectly still. Presently one would come sailing along, and apparently not notice the collector. A very quick movement with the net was necessary to catch the insect, and if you missed the first stroke the chances were all on the butterfly escaping. On being disturbed they make rapid jerky upward movements, and soon get out of the danger-zone, flying away to some other slope. As soon as the sun is obscured by a cloud all the butterflies alight and remain motionless till the sun shines again. As sunshine is the exception rather than the rule on these mountain-tops, Erebia-hunting is very trying to the patience.
Notwithstanding the unfavourable weather, we managed to get about twenty-five Erebia micans in good condition during this, our first, visit to Macetown. Ichneutica ceraunias and Leucania griseipennis were fairly common, but in bad condition.
Hoping that the weather would clear up for good, we started back to Queenstown on the 22nd December, on the way to Glenorchy. Glenorchy was reached on the 29th December, and our hopes were for a spell of fine weather, in order to work the tempting mountains that lie on the west side of Lake Wakatipu. We were especially anxious to get specimens of that rare butterfly Erebia or Erebiola butleri from a locality on the Humboldt Mountains discovered by Mr. G. V. Hudson, F.E.S., in 1894. A fall of snow and cold and boisterous weather gave the mountains a mantle right down to the bush-line (3,600 ft.), and all we could do for ten days was to sit in the hotel at Glenorchy and wait. We waited and waited until we almost despaired of seeing fine weather again, and eventually left Glenorchy (in the rain) for the south in search of finer weather.
We went right down to Invercargill, finally stopping at Wallaceville, about nine miles out of town. Mr. Philpott, who lives near there, was exceedingly kind to us, and gave us the benefit of his wide experience of collecting in those parts. When out with him one evening we had the good fortune to take two specimens of that rare moth Melanchra exquisita, of which previously there were only four specimens known. We also got seventy-odd fine specimens of a dark variety of Argyrophenga antipodum from the rushes in a paddock.
Our next instructions from headquarters were to go back to Macetown, as we seemed to have been most successful there Stopping at Lumsden, we laid down the treacle on fence-posts round the town, and were rewarded by getting a number of moths in excellent condition. A dark variety of Orthosia comma was plentiful, and the following comprised the rest of the catch: Leucania atristriga, L. moderata, L. propria, Melanchra disjungens, M. ewingi, M. mutans M. prionistis, M. plena, M. rubescens, and Bityla defigurata.
The following day, in Queenstown, we took Vanessa cardui, Chrysophanus enysii, C. salustius, C. boldenarum, and Lycaena phoebe during a walk round the track to Glenorchy.
We arrived back at Macetown on the 22nd January, and for the first few days the weather was execrable from an entomologist's point of view, although the mining-men seemed to be perfectly satisfied.
During the first three days at Macetown we kept a tabulated record of the moths taken at night. The following is the list :—
It must be understood that there were countless numbers on the treacle, and the ones listed are only those in perfect condition, and which were posted to Wellington.
On the 27th January, as the weather showed signs of clearing, we packed up for a stay in a hut up Advance Peak. This shepherd's hut is situated on the site of an old mine called the Sunrise. Advance Peak itself is 5,650 ft. above the sea-level, and the hut is considerably over 5,000 ft. A good track leads right to the door, and we were fortunate in having our
goods packed up by horse. The only vegetation is the stunted heath and tussock (snow-grass).
On the following day, a beautifully fine one, we had a most enjoyable collecting. Among the species that we took were Erebia pluto, Vanessa gonerilla, Argyrophenga antipodum, Leucania griseipennis, Dasyuris hectori, D. anceps, Notoreas insignis, N. orphnaea, N. mechanitis, N. peronata, N. trephosata, N. zopyra, and N. vulcanica. We came to the conclusion that the time for Erebia micans was over, as this butterfly was known to be plentiful in that locality earlier in the season.
During a ten days' stay up the mountain a large number of species was captured, and especially notable was a Melanchra pictula, on the treacle, at 5,000 ft.
Treacling at Macetown proved remarkably successful. There were so many moths round each patch of sugar that we did not know how to pick out the rarities. The best were ten beautiful examples of Melanchra pictula and fourteen of Melanchra maya.
It is a curious fact that we failed to notice a single specimen of Leucania unica during our second visit to Macetown. They seemed to have disappeared entirely, which is remarkable, considering what an enormous number there were only a month before.
During our two visits to Macetown we estimated to have sent between five and six thousand specimens of various species to Wellington for selection.
Our next instructions were to proceed to Glenorchy, at the head of Lake Wakatipu, and make special endeavours to get speciments of Erebia butleri. Accordingly we left Macetown, and arrived at Glenorchy on the 10th February, 1909.
The following day being beautifully fine, a start was made for Bold Peak, on the Humboldt Range. Half an hour's easy rowing across the lake and a steep climb of about 2,500 ft. over burnt-forest area brings you to the sharply defined bush-line. Almost as soon as we got into the snow-grass and tussock Erebia butleri was seen flying lazily about in the sunshine. Proceeding a few hundred feet higher, we were soon busy taking it. Argyrophenga antipodum were extremely abundant, but we confined ourselves chiefly to the capture of the rarer butterfly. On that day and another which we spent in that locality we succeeded in getting nearly a hundred specimens of E. butleri, the proportion of females (all in poor condition) being 1 in 10.
The alpine flora to be seen on that range is wonderful, and at a higher altitude we seemed to be in one of nature's most beautiful rock-gardens. It would need more than the description of even an ardent botanist to fully appreciate the beautiful sights to be seen there.
Higher up still, at an altitude of about 6,000 ft., we came upon small colonies of the true Erebia pluto. Twenty-three specimens, of unusually large size, and in the best possible condition, were taken from the shingle slopes on Bold Peak. It was again noticed that these Erebias had a habit of flying over well-defined air-tracks, and they were also extremely hard to kill, as they frequently revived after being in the cyanide killing-bottle for half an hour or more.
Our next journey was to the Routeburn Hut, at the foot of Lake Harris Saddle. We spent five days there, and encountered very mixed weather. One fine day spent on Lake Harris Saddle was very disappointing to us, and we took only two Erebia butleri, a few Argyrophenga antipodum, and several species of Notoreas. The flowering-plants seemed to be over, and there was
very little insect-life to be noted. We were disappointed at this, as we were looking forward to some interesting collecting on this saddle.
The bad weather-conditions (cold, sharp nights) made the night collecting poor round the hut. The ribbonwood (Plagianthus Lyalli) was in full bloom, and we got most of the moths round that, with lights. Declana floccosa and Melanchra rubescens were very common, with an occasional M. mutans. One very battered specimen of that beautiful and rare moth Leucania purdei was taken round the ribbonwood-blossom Treacling failed to produce anything, the blossom being too strong a counter-attraction. We left Routeburn feeling that we had not been sufficiently rewarded for our efforts.
We left the Cold Lake District finally on the 20th February, and returned to Invercargill district, with the hopes of getting good collecting round the ragwort and Canadian thistle that infest the locality.
Wallacetown, Orepuki, Moeraki, and Rangitata were visited without much result.
Castle Hill, on the old West Coast Road, was next visited, in the hopes that we might be able to find forms recorded by Enys many years ago. Erebia pluto is said to occur on the ranges in the vicinity of Mount Torlesse; but, whether the weather was too bad or the butterflies were over for the season, we were unsuccessful.
Finally we were ordered to Nelson, with instructions to work the Dun Mountain thoroughly. The weather and the lateness of the season combined to make our trip unprofitable. Apart from a few of the special form of Argyrophenga from the Dun Mountain, one Dodonidia helmsi and a few Noctuae obtained round Nelson, we did not get anything worth recording. This is unfortunate, as Nelson is a good locality for collecting, as is evidenced by the good local collections of Lepidoptera that are to be seen.
We left Nelson on the 29th March, and concluded operations for the season 1908–9.
It is a well-established fact that this season was an unusually bad one, regarded from an entomologist's point of view. Not only in the South Island did we have the bad weather, continuous reports from collectors in the North told of equally bad weather in their districts, and we must be thankful that we did so well while the fine weather lasted. Without a doubt Macetown was the most productive numerically, but I doubt if the series of Physetica caerulea obtained from Waipori was not more interesting. The wonderful variation in the same species, and the gradation from one marking to another, makes this series especially valuable.
The practice of taking all moths in good condition from every locality tends to show that some forms are most variable, and in others it is impossible to detect any variation.
It is hoped that our modest endeavours to record entomological facts will be appreciated, and we are deeply thankful to the Dominion Museum Department for the opportunity of doing so. Our knowledge of the New Zealand Lepidoptera must necessarily be incomplete until a large amount of collecting and recording is done.
B. Season 1909–10.
The following notes and observations were made by the writer during the season 1909–10—from the 26th November, 1909, to the 25th March, 1910—he being employed by the Dominion Museum as collector during this period.
As in the previous season four months of collecting had been done in the South Island, it was intended that operations were to be confined chiefly to the North Island of New Zealand, but eventually a considerable time was spent in Southland and Westland. This was due to the fact that the North Island seems to be poorer in Noctuae than the South.
Active operations were commenced on the 29th November in the neighbourhood of Morere, Hawke's Bay, a small settlement with notable hot springs. The native bush in the vicinity of Morere has been nearly obliterated by the advent of the settler, but there is one splendid patch round the hot springs conserved by the Government for scenic purposes.
Sugaring and attracting by light were the chief methods employed to get collections of the moths. During my fortnight's stay here the weather was not good, and collecting suffered to a certain extent.
Amongst the commoner Noctuae taken at treacle were Orthosia comma, Leucania atristriga Melanchra ewingi, M. insignis, M. lignana, M. mutans, M. pelistis, Bityla defigurata, Ipana leptomera, Declana floccosa, and D. junctilinea. I also had the good fortune to take a perfect specimen of Cosmodes elegans at treacle, and also that rare moth Orthosia margarita. Two good specimens of Hepialus virescens were taken at light in the bush, and later on in the season they would do doubt be common, as nearly every makomako (Aristotelia racemosa) showed evidences of extensive borings by the caterpillar of that moth. In the same locality four years previously I caught a beautiful orange-yellow variety of the male Hepialus hanging on to one of the incandescent lamps (fed by natural gas) that light the bush-track to the hot springs.
Collecting along this track in the dense bush was fair, and the following is a list of the species taken: Tatosoma sp., Chloroclystis bilineolata, Hydriomena similata, Xanthorhoe cineraria, Leptomeris rubraria, Selidosema aristarcha, S. dejectaria, S. panagrata, S. suavis, Sestra flexata, Gonophylla ophiopa, and a few Crambi and micros. On hot sunny days Chrysophanus salustius was fairly common on the watercress-flower, and the darker form, C. enysii, was also taken from the same places. Lycaena phoebe was also to be found, chiefly on the roadside, and an occasional hibernated specimen of Vanessa gonerilla was noted.
On the 17th December I left Morere, and proceeded by steamer from Gisborne to Auckland, with instructions to collect in the vicinity of the Waitakarei Ranges, about twenty miles south-west of Auckland. The bush on the Waitakarei Range is fairly heavy, and is not much interfered with by agricultural and pastoral operations.
Altogether I spent three days in the bush, and collected the following species: Orthosia comma, Heliothis armigera, Plusia transfixa, Rhapsa scotosialis, Hydriomena deltoidata, H. gobiata, Venusia verriculata, Selidosema aristarcha, S. dejectalia, S. panagrata, Chalastra pelurgata, Sestra flexaria, Gonophylla nelsonaria, G. ophiopa, Drepanodes muriferata, and Ipana leptomera. The Plusia transfixa mentioned is rather rare, and previously has been recorded only from the Thames district;* it is probably an introduced species, now naturalized; and the finding of Gonophylla ophiopa is a considerable extension of its northward range.
My next move took me to Kamo, about four miles out of Whangarei. and there I spent the New Year. Collecting there was very poor, and the only things of any note taken were Heliothis armigera and Orthosia
[Footnote] * Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 41, p. 5.
immunis. Among the commoner varieties were Plusia chalcites, Leucania mode [ unclear: ] ata, L. unipuncta, Melanchra ewingi, Rhapsa scotosialis, Hydriomena deltoidata, H. gobiata, Euchoeca rubropunctaria, Venusia verriculata, Xanthorhoe stinaria, Selidosema dejectaria, S. panagrata, Sestra flexata, and Drepanodes muriferata.
Four specimens of a small micro were taken while beating for beetles, which proved on examination by Mr. A. Philpott to be Coriscium miniellum.
On leaving Kamo on the 8th January, 1910, I proceeded north as far as Russell, Bay of Islands At Russell I saw a single specimen of Vanessa itea on the summit of the historical Flagstaff Hill. The only moths taken at night were Ipana leptomera and Orthosia comma. The manuka scrub seemed to be alive with large singing locusts, Melampsatta cingulata, and several fine specimens were taken.
Apart from these cicadas there seemed to be a marked dearth of insect-life at this time. The same fact has been noted by Mr. A. Hamilton, the Director of the Dominion Museum, during his recent tour north of Auckland. The gum lands and manuka-scrub plains seem to be very poor in insects.
The collecting in the North being poor, I was recalled to Wellington, with the idea of trying the South Island fields again. Mount Arthur tableland was to have been visited, but eventually it was decided that I should go to the Humboldt Range, near Queenstown district, Lake Wakatipu. Collectors who had been in Queenstown district at Christmas brought very bad reports about the scarcity of Lepidoptera at that time, and I went expecting to be disappointed.
The previous season, collecting for the Dominion Museum in company with Mr. F. S. Oliver, of Christchurch, we had a very successful time on Bold Peak, prominent on the Humboldt Mountains, and directly above Kinloch. Then we took that rare butterfly Erebia butleri and some large Erebia pluto on the higher slopes of the mountain, but we were unable to do any night work at these higher altitudes. Bold Peak is easily accessible from Glenorchy or Kinloch, and good collecting can be obtained above the bush-line, 3,600 ft. The flora on the slopes of Bold Peak is specially rich in Veronicas, and knowing what an attractive blossom Veronica is for Noctuae I was anxious to get some night work at these plants.
On the 31st January, 1910, I arrived at Kinloch, and by the evening of the same day had a camp pitched just above the bush-line on the way to Bold Peak. I treacled the birch bush in many places, but failed to attract a single moth, for reasons that were apparent later on. During the two following beautifully fine days I made excursions up to the altitude of about 6,500 ft., and had splendid catches of Erebia butleri and E. pluto.
The butleri seemed to be in poor condition, and, although the proportion of females to males was greater than that of the previous season, about fifteen males were taken to every female. This may be due to two facts—(1) a female Erebia butleri on the wing is easily mistaken for a dark male Argyrophenga antipodum, especially if you cannot see the underside; (2) as a rule, the habits of the E. butleri are sluggish, and it does not make long flights; it frequents some particular tussock-clump and flutters about there. Their position is generally indicated by watching the movements of the males, and noticing where they hover for a longer time than usual. During the bright sunshine the male butleri is seldom ever at rest, and appears to fly backwards and forwards along well-defined routes within certain natural boundaries. This “trade-route” habit is specially characteristic of the movements of E. pluto also.
Erebia pluto occurs on the slopes of Bold Peak from 3,600 ft. to where the snow-grass and tussock thins out, at about 6,000 ft. At the latter height you come on to the shingle-slips and rocky slopes where E. pluto reigns. I was fortunate in the two fine days I had on the mountain to get over thirty specimens of that butterfly, nearly all of which were in the best possible condition. The plutos from this locality are much larger than any other recorded specimens, having on the average an expansion of 55 mm. There seems to be great variation in the number of white spots on the upper wing, and in one case spots were found on the lower wing.
On the night of the 2nd February I had a wonderful time collecting from clumps of Veronica growing at about 3,700 ft. on steep rugged slopes. Just at dusk the moths started to collect, and I had a busy time netting. I found it was much easier and better to let the moths settle on the Veronica flower and then bottle them. Melanchra pelistis was exceedingly common, and the same can be said of Orthosia comma. A large number of Leucania griseipennis were taken, all in splendid condition and of unusual size. No less than eight Melanchra maya were taken on that same night, and also three of a new species, not unlike Melanchra disjungens.*
The following also occurred: Melanchra rubescens, M. prionistis, M. pelistis, M. levis, Selidosema dejectaria, S. monacha (a very rare and little-known species, of which male and female were taken), Epirranthis alectoraria, Xanthorhoe clarata, X. cataphracta, X. adonis, Hydromena deltoidata, Notoreas sp., and a new species of Selidosema. Dasyuris hectori was also taken on the higher slopes of Bold Peak.
It will be seen that the locality is a very rich one, and taking three new or little-known species in a single night is very encouraging. It may be mentioned here that the season was much earlier this year owing to the exceptionally mild winter in that locality during 1909. Plants that were flowering at the same date in 1909 were entirely over, and no doubt this had some effect on the insect-life. Two new species of Coleoptera were found at high altitudes, and will be described by Major Broun.
After this successful time on Bold Peak I went down to the lowlands in the vicinity of Invercargill, collecting chiefly at Wallacetown and Seaward Moss. On the 10th February, in company with Mr. A. Philpott, of Invercargill, I made a trip to Seaward Moss, about twelve miles south-east of Invercargill, in search of a small species of Notoreas called synclinalis. Although the day was exceedingly windy, we managed to get about thirty picked specimens of that beautiful moth. On a fine day we should have taken any quantity.
In the vicinity of Wallacetown the following were taken off the ragwort, then in full bloom: Orthosia immunis, Leucania semivittata, L. toroneura, Melanchra mutans, Tatosoma topea and sp., Elvia glaucata, Hydriomena deltoidata, H. gobiata, H. rixata, Venusia undosata, Xanthorhoe clarata, Selidosema dejectaria, and S. panagrata.
On the 14th January I proceeded, by instructions, to Waipori, situated twelve miles west of Lawrence, at an altitude of 2,000 ft. In the season of 1909–10, in company with Mr. Oliver, a wonderful series of Physetica caerulea was taken on the 26th November, 1909, at this locality, and I was anxious to get some more specimens. On treacling round the same locality, and under perfect conditions, not a single one was seen, however, and, instead of having dozens of moths on each patch of treacle, the total catch
[Footnote] * To be described as M. oliveri.
for the night consisted only of Orthosia comma and two Melanchra ewingi(?). The following night was not so successful, as I failed to get even a single specimen. This can only be put down to the lateness of the season, although there were plenty of Argyrophenga antipodum, Notoreas brephos, and Vanessa gonerilla flying in the daytime. Chrysophanus boldenarum was very scarce in places where there were any quantity the year before.
On the way back to Wellington I stopped at Moeraki, and in company with Mr. G. Howes, of Dunedin, spent the night of the 23rd February treacling in the bush at the back of Port Moeraki. On that and the following night I took the following species: Orthosia comma, Leucania sulcana, Melanchra decorata (four specimens), M. mutans, M. plena (very common), M. stipata, Rhapsa scotosialis, Venusia undosata, Xanthorhoe rosearia, Epirranthis alectoraria, Selidosema dejectaria, S. melinata, S. panagrata, Declana floccosa, and D. niveata.
No more collecting was done until the 12th March, when I camped on Mount Greenland, near Ross, Westland. Mount Greenland rises to a height of 2,968 ft. above sea-level, and the top is fairly open country. I stopped at a hut in the subalpine vegetation, elevated about 2,500 ft., intending to see what moths came to a flowering bush of Veronica which grew at the door of the hut. I stayed there four nights, and got good results, especially on the warm misty nights when there was little cold wind blowing from the main range. Strange to relate, the commonest moth there was Leucania alopa, which is considered rather a rarity at other places. Every evening I treacled the stunted trees, and even treacled Veronica blossoms, but got nothing by that method; everything had to be netted. It is a peculiar fact that the smoke or heat from the hut chimney seemed to attract many moths: perhaps they were only trying to get to the source of light. By far the most important capture was that of a single specimen of Junonia velleda, a butterfly that in 1886 was common in Wellington, and has been recorded from New Plymouth in 1893 and Motueka in 1898. Since 1898 no other specimens have been seen in the South Island until I got this damaged specimen at Mount Greenland on the 14th March, sheltering under a flax-bush during the pouring rain. Not expecting to find a rarity like that in such a locality, I mistook it for Vanessa cardui, and only by chance sent it up for examination.
The season was undoubtedly nearly over for collecting on the West Coast, but I made a trip to the Styx Saddle, near Browning's Pass, on the main Southern Alps. I did not expect to get much, but wanted to see if the locality was a suitable one for collecting earlier in the season. Nevertheless I took a large male Porina, * darker and less spotted than usual. Specimens of Leucania alopa, L. atristriga, and Bityla defigurata were also taken, but nothing else of any importance. Several golden-ringed black hairy caterpillars were taken feeding on a wayside plant, Erechtites glabrescens. These are considered to be a species of Metacrias, but so far have not been reared to maturity. The Styx Saddle contains about 30 acres of fine subalpine meadow land, and about New Year time should prove an excellent field for collectors.
On my way back to Wellington I walked over Arthur's Pass, in company with Dr. Cockayne, of Christchurch. The day was a fine one, but the only butterfly seen was one specimen of Vanessa gonerilla. After this, collecting was abandoned for the season and I returned to Wellington on the 30th March.
[Footnote] * Porina dinodes.