Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Puriri moth

Pare - puriri moth

Pare - puriri moth

Māori name: pepe tuna; mokoroa, ngutara; pungoungou

English name: puriri moth

Scientific name: Aenetus virescens (Doubleday in White and Doubleday)
order = Lepidoptera; family = Hepialidae

  • is the largest moth in Aotearoa / New Zealand, and is found only on Te Ika a Māui / North Island;
  • relatives live in Australia, New Caledonia, and Papua New Guinea;
  • caterpillars start life living in a bracket fungus;
  • older caterpillars make a refuge tunnel in the trunk of a large tree;
  • caterpillars feed on the wound tissue of the tree around the tunnel entrance, which is concealed by a silken "tent";
  • pupation occurs in the tunnel;
  • adult moths do not feed, and live only for a few days;
  • moths are active at night.