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Pūriri moth

Aenetus virescens

An amazing moth, NZ's largest and most spectacular moth. Females can lay up to 1700 eggs indiscriminately on the forest floor before dying. It takes about five years to go from egg to adult... and then the adults last 1-2 days!

A number of related species occur in Australia, New Guinea and New Caledonia.


Host Plant
Putaputāwetā, kamahi and beech as well as pūriri, and some exotic plants such as privet.
Round and pale yellow at first, turning black. 12-14 days.
Larva feeds at first on leaf litter and fungi but later climbs a live tree and bores into the trunk.
When it is about 10 cm long it pupates in the tunnel inside the tree.
Usually green but can range into pink and yellow. Colouration of male is variable, some with many silvery-white forewing markings. Ocurs in the central and southern part of the North Island.
Forewing length
27-70 mm
North Island only, native forest, parks and gardens.
Photo by Don Horne

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