Puriri moth (pepetuna) blog, see comments

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    Male, Clinton



    Hi Clinton, Pepetuna is the Maori name for Puriri moth, and Ruru is the Maori name for Morepork. I think both are preferable to the English common names – partly because Puriri moths use a whole lot of trees as host, not just Puriri, and Ruru sounds a lot more like the call this owl makes than Morepork does. But I’m willing to concede that the scientific names are less liable to be misunderstood/confused.




    Do Puriri moths lives down to southern North Island ???

    Taupo ???
    Hawke’s Bay ???
    Hastings ???
    Napier ???
    Wellington ???

    I need datas about Puriri moths in southern North Island south of latitude 38oS.



    Pepetuna ??? what is Pepetuna ???

    Ruru ??? Laughing owls are extinct and we have two kind of alive owls here.

    Morkpork (Increasing common)
    Barn owls (rare, had bred)

    Morkpork are increasing common after aireal pussum poisoning, because very few pussums in bush and lots of insects as Puriri moths, so numbers of morkporks will increase.
    Morkporks flies to catch fast-flying Puriri moths in midair and eat them, along with huhu beetles (longhorn beetles and biggest beetles in NZ.) Huhu grabs enjoy eating pine trees that are dead, as well as pine tree logs.



    Thanks for that Clinton. No I wasn’t asleep – we were still out in the forest at ten o’clock. But no Pepetuna showed up. At least there were lots of Ruru (owls) for my Halloween.



    Puriri moths flies at 10pm to 12am, during time you were asleep.
    They are aenetus moths, with aenetus virescens confined to northern North Island, New Zealand and aenetus cohici confined to New Caledonia and phassodes vitiensis confined to Fiji and 16 species of aenetus moths in Australia and aenetus lignivorus confined to Tasmania.
    Male aenetus moths tends to have green or white mixed with green mottles and white, yellow, green hindwings while female tends to have green or green with brown mottles on forewings and red, orange, brown hindwings.
    Female aenetus moths drop 1,0000 to 5,0000 eggs as they flies and after hatching, larvas (caterpillars) have to walk looking for rotten woods to eat. They make silken tents over rotten woods.
    When they are about 6-12 months old, they leave rotten woods and walk looking for correct trees to drill a tunnel.
    Once the larvaes drilled tunnels, they stay in tunnels for 1-3 years before they make bigger tunnels. Once they lives in bigger tunnels, they stay in tunnels for 2-4 years, before pupae. Lavaes covers the scar whose they fed on living inner barks, with silk and outer barks. Dropping were thrown out of silken covers.
    When larvaes were a month behind due to pupae, they start to make the brown “door” at enterance of tunnels, to block insects from enter the tunnels to kill pupaes.
    The silken cover were not replaced and became faded during pupa stage. After larvaes moult for last time, become pupaes.
    Freshly moult pupaes were pale creamy coloured, with hard brown head and thorax, then over 2-9 months the pupaes become more colourful,firstly orange, red and brown, yellow before become green, yellow, orange.
    When pupaes are ready to hatch, they move up the tunnels, pushing the “door”, they have spines on adbomen to enable them to move up or down and turning in tunnel.
    After pushed the door, the pupaes came out of tunnels and then they spilt to let moths hatch. Moths hatching from pupaes, find itseft in air and pawing for something to grasp, then it found something as tree truck or branch, then it carries on climbing, at same time it grow its wing stumps.
    They climb for 1-3 feet away from tunnels and held their wings upright in butterfly posture for 10-20 mins. Once wings are fully grown but simi hard, they move their wings to cover their bodies, in moth posture. Take 1-2 hours for wings to harden up. During early night they shiver to warm their bodies to 35oC, take 30-45 mins, before they fly away.
    Most hatching and immature larvas fell prey to ants, beetles and insects during travelling looking for rotten woods, so half reach maturily when moths flies to mate and breed.
    Flight speed: 10k/m-18k/m fast fliers.
    Owls, nighthawks, bats and rats, shrews, nighttime reptiles and predatory insects catch the aenetus moths in flight and on ground, in trees.
    In New Zealand Morkporks catch & eat Puriri moths (aenetus virescens)while nighthawk and owls and bats catch & eat aenetus cohici in New Caledonia. Dead and sleeping moths during daytime are found & eaten by birds and reptiles.



    While I was looking for evidence of the outward changes to the bark of the tree when the puriri moth emerges I found this. You have probably all seen it, but I hadn’t, so here is the link again for those of us who missed it in 2009. http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/3140954/World-first-as-camera-catches-moth-emerging



    While I was Up North I thought I would spend Halloween looking for some real ghosts (Pepetuna=Puriri moth=Ghost moth) and bats. I took a 2-hour guided night walk in the Puketi Forest with Adventure Puketi. We didn’t see either ghost moths or bats silhoetted against that huge full moon – but did see lots of other things so I thoroughly recommend the walk to anyone going up to Kerikeri or thereabouts.
    Saw the evidence of pepetuna larvae, and will try to post a photo tomorrow.



    Hi Chrisalis,
    Was dead one the male moth ??? female moth ???



    Picked up a dead one in Katikati last week.



    WOW Joanna, what an amazing sight that must have been!



    Last year (about October /November) we were night-shooting rabbits (using spotlights) on a hill country farm here in the Wairarapa and that night coincided with a huge hatch of puriri moths!! It was incredible – the were 100’s of them. They were dazzled by the lights and were throwing themselves at the headlights of the ute. I had to keep ordering the driver to stop so I could rescue them! They are very beautiful: a lovely apple green and white…and such an interesting life-cycle too.

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