08 October 2013

Puriri Moth (Aenetus virescens)

At the south end of Lake Taupo, from October, we quite often find Puriri Moths on our deck in the morning.  Like many other moths they are fatally (or near fatally) attracted to light at night. A couple of days ago we found about ten of them there - one quite large, a female with the wingspan of about 120mm. There were male and female present and we took the opportunity to photograph them and compare their anatomy.  We were helped by an early edition of Powell's little book on the animals of NZ.

Female posterior abdomen

Male posterior abdomen

Male (left) and female Puriri moth

Nature study

Female Puriri moth laying eggs

Puriri moth eggs
The female is a beautiful pale green with brown markings on its fore wing. The under wing is a pale brown colour.  The male has a green fore wing with white markings. The under wing has a white colour.  The male abdomen tapers to a point and the female to a more wedge shape.  While I was photographing a female she started to lay eggs, small white 1-2mm - and many of them.  They are beautiful moths. The eyes appeared to be different between male and female, the males eyes being more prominent and closer together. They are not found in the South Island of NZ.

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