Kawakawa Looper Moth
New Zealand Status: Endemic
Conservation Status: n/a
Cleora scriptaria is an endemic moth commonly found throughout New Zealand. Adults can be found throughout the year. They typically have a wingspan of 40mm to 50mm, are highly variable in size and wing pattern, and have a distinctive spot in the middle of each forewing that can be black, white, or cream coloured. The male antennae are more feathery (i.e. have longer branches) than most related species and the forewing termin lacks the white spot that is usually present in the Gellonia species.
Eggs are laid in clusters of 3 or 4 on the host plant. The small, predominently green, Cleora scriptaria caterpillars feed nocturnally on leaves of Kawakawa (Macropiper excelsum) and other native shrubs. Most kawakawa plants have holes in the leaves made by these caterpillars. Pupation is in a cocoon in leaf litter.
© Geografpix Photography, Steve Reader