05 December 2015

Puriri Moths at Pukawa

This is not the first time I've talked about Puriri Moths, those beautiful green moths that often arrive in the night at our window at Pukawa - and which, sadly, we often find dead on the deck in the morning. A while ago I found 17 of them fluttering outside and photographed some of them.

Twelve Puriri Moths on the Deck
Web Covering of Puriri Moth Hole

Remains of Web and Pupal Exoskeleton

By the morning none were left and I hoped that most had flown away. There was a blackbird hopping on the deck and he was pecking at the odd wing remnant. But I'd switched off the lights early and gone to bed early so maybe some had gone off about their business of breeding.

Hole after Puriri Moth Exit
Recently some friends were visiting and they knew more about these moths than we did. Next day they showed us the holes they make in the trees, the sealing web they place over their tunnels and we even saw some of the final pupal exoskeletons they leave behind after they finally leave their holes - mainly in putaputaweta trees. The whole discovery was very exciting for us - especially their complete life cycles. After egg laying they live for some time in earth burrows before migrating to trees. Here are some photos I took.

Puriri Moth Hole Covered by Membrane

Exoskeleton of Puriri Moth pupa

It is sad to think that they die after being attracted to our light. I suggest that people finding these moths at their windows turn out the lights early and go to sleep. Then they may wake up earlier to hear the great dawn chorus at Pukawa. Great fact sheet about Puriri moth biology here.

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