Cabbage Tree Moth
New Zealand Status: Endemic
Conservation Status: Not Threatened
Adult Epiphryne verriculata moths are a light brownish colour with a distinctive appearance that provides very effective camouflage while the moth is resting on dead leaves of their host plants, cabbage trees. Moths resting on the green leaves, or other plants and structures are more easily found.
The presence of cabbage tree moth caterpillars is easily recognised due to the distinctive damage they do to the young leaves of Cordyline species, cabbage trees. The caterpillars are found in between the young leaves in the crown of the plant. Epiphryne verriculata is the only looper caterpillar that lives in this part of the plant. The caterpillars only damage young soft leaves but the damage lasts for as long as the leaves stay on the plant which can be many years.
Epiphryne verriculata is found throughout New Zealand in urban and native ecosystems wherever its host plants, cabbage trees (Cordyline sp.), are found.
© Geografpix Photography, Steve Reader