23 Dec 2016

Critter of the Week: the Puriri Moth

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan, 1:42 pm on 23 December 2016
Puriri Moth

Puriri Moth Photo: Tony Wills

Of the more than 1500 different moths in New Zealand, the biggest and most spectacular is the Puriri or ghost moth of the North Island. Its pale velvety green markings give it a very ghost-like appearance.

The puriri moth (Anetus virescens) is New Zealand's largest forest moth, having a wingspan of up to 15 centimetres. As its name indicates, the puriri moth caterpillar lives in puriri trees, but it also favours beech trees, putaputaweta and wineberry. Once the caterpillar makes the transformation to adulthood, the lifecycle of the puriri moth accelerates, and a lucky moth (one that has been able to evade a hungry morepork) will live for about two days.