Insect-world gems

Entomologist Brian Patrick says there are natural gems amid the slopes and valleys of Motatapu, Mount Soho, Glencoe and Coronet Peak stations.

''Ecologically, it's a distinctive region with a suite of newly discovered species, rare and poorly known species and locally endemic species.

"I have done a lot of entomological work across those stations.''

He said a highlight was Percnodaimon micans (pictured) - Hamilton's mountain black - first collected by Harold Hamilton on November 20, 1907, at 1800m on Mt Hyde in the headwaters of the Arrow River and highlighted in the 2012 book Butterflies of the South Pacific by Mr Patrick and his son, Hamish.

''This butterfly's distribution range neatly coincides with Mutt Lange's amazing gift to the people of New Zealand.

"This majestic butterfly epitomises the beauty, elegance and majesty of this part of New Zealand,'' he said.

Other ''stunning'' species to be found in the area include pink and green Meterana meyricci , a moth that feeds on Pimelea; the giant ghost moth Aoraia aurimaculata; and the rare butterfly Erebiola butleri.

''There are large colourful grasshoppers, flightless stoneflies, gaily coloured diurnal moths and giant dragonflies,'' Mr Patrick said.