Puriri moth larval damage 2

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Puriri moth larval damage 2.


The puriri moths are the largest native moths with a wingspan up to 15com. The adults do not feed - as they have no mouthparts. The specific name viriscens means "green"

See the FoPP magazine February 2011

"The ghostly trunks of the Puriri Vitex lucens are easily spotted in the bush, smoothly pale and often with surface roots writhing on the surface [10 - Somerset St.]. Many show the scars from the Puriri Moth Aenetus virescens [11 - in Kauri Grove]. The moths scatter eggs on the forest floor, caterpillars hatch and climb up the tree and tunnel into the trunk, covering the entrance with a strong silk cover, often camouflaged so well that the damage is unnoticed. Caterpillars live for six or more years in a deep tunnel inside the tree, feeding on the callus the tree produces trying to repair the damage. Adult moths live for only a few days. Old holes then provide shelter for other insects - wetas!"

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Puriri moth larval damage 2

Scientific name:

Aenetus virescens

Maori name:

Pepe Tuna