Meadow Argus butterfly (Junonia villida), Austins Ferry, Tasmania, Australia.
Image: JJ Harrison
Community type

Wet scrub

Habitat type

Tidal wetlands and macrophytes beds

Butterflies are most diverse and abundant in warmer tropical regions on the earth, however in the temperate climate of Tasmania we still have a diverse butterfly community with 39 known species. They are grouped primarily as skippers, blues, browns, swallowtails, and the introduced whites. Some of these species migrate from the Australian mainland, using north-westerly winds to help them on their journey. The most common type of butterfly seen in and around Tasmanian wetlands are the fast and erratic flying ‘Skippers’. Eleven species of skippers breed in Tasmania, and larvae (caterpillars) feed upon grasses and sedges. Butterflies often have short ‘flight windows’ or periods of adult activity, the timing of which is dependent upon their life cycle. The ‘flight window’ of some species are in spring, while some are only active in autumn. There are a number of features which allow you to distinguish between moths and butterflies. Butterflies have knobbed antennae, while moths have feathery antennae. Most butterflies fly during the day, while most moths fly at night. Also, butterflies generally rest with their wings held upright, while moths spread their wings out horizontally, but this is not always the case.

Much of the text within the species area of our website was written by Veronica Thorpe, as part of the Derwent River Wildlife Guide (2000).

The DEP has developed a variety of classroom and outdoor activities focused around the key estuary habitats of tidal wetlands, salt marshes and rocky reefs. These include classroom materials, online resources, interpretive walks, games and sensory experiences.