16 December 2014

Green mahoe moth (Feredayia graminosa)

On Monday afternoon I walked the No. 1 Line track again and brewed Lapsang Souchong tea at the top seat. A cool, blustery easterly whipped over the crest of the southern Ruahine range; cloud shadows raced across the mountainside; patches of warm sunlight visited but didn't stay long. A few blowflies roared around; big crane flies bumbled about, clumsy, catching their seemingly spaghettified legs on anything and everything; nothing offered much opportunity for worthwhile photographs.

On the way back down, I stopped to inspect the trunk of a big tawa. A distinct shadow drew my eye to an elongated protuberance on a patch of lichen and moss. Closer inspection showed this beautiful noctuid moth: Feredayia graminosa, the green mahoe moth, so named because its caterpillars feed on mahoe (whiteywood). NatureWatchNZ uses the alternative common name 'mahoe stripper moth', but search engines might misinterpret that, so I'll stick with 'green mahoe moth' ;^)

All content © 2014 Pete McGregor


Deb said...

Wonderful photo Pete! I love these moths

pohanginapete said...

Thanks Deb. I assume this had emerged probably less than a day ago, if that. Every scale seemed in place, and the colours seemed brilliant and fresh.

Zhoen said...

So green, lush and alive.

pohanginapete said...

Zhoen, most of the few individuals I've seen have been duller, faded, which makes me think this had only very recently emerged.

I wonder where it is now, and what it's doing?