Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Köwhai leaf-miner moth: one of world's smallest moths

New Zealand's köwhai leaf-miner moth (Stigmella sophorae) is amongst the smallest moths in the world, with a wingspan of 2.5-3.5 mm.
  • The minute caterpillar completes its whole growth inside just one of the little leaflets of a köwhai tree, making a tiny track or 'leaf-mine' as it eats its way along.
  • It then comes out and spins a tiny silk cocoon on the ground or on a leaf.
  • The moth that hatches out is so small and beats its wings so fast it is almost invisible when flying.