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Large Green New Zealand Moth
Location: Waitakere Ranges, Auckland, New Zealand
January 21, 2011 4:56 am
Hi,
Just tonight two of these large green moths flew into my room, one after the other. I have never seen this type of moth before.
Each one was around 75-80mm in length and approximately 100-110mm in wingspan.
After finding this website, I am assuming they are Puriri Moths.
Could you please tell me if they definitely are Puriri Moths.
Thanks,
Signature: John

Puriri Moth

Hi John,
You are absolutely correct.  This is a Puriri Moth or Ghost Moth in the family Hepialidae.  You may read about it on the Insects and Spiders of New Zealand website which indicates the Maori names are:  “pepe tuna; mokoroa, ngutara; pungoungou
“.  Though five or six years are spent as a caterpillar, the adult Puriri Moth only lives about two days and does not feed.

Puriri Moth

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Moth?
Location: Barrington Tops National Park, Australia
November 30, 2010 6:26 pm
Hello,
This insect was found in Gloucester Tops, Australia in November at 1200m. Is it a moth? It was about 50mm in length.
Regards
Signature: Lis

Splendid Ghost Moth

Dear Lis,
This certainly is a moth, but we would need to do some research to identify the species.  We are posting your letter just before going to bed and hopefully we will be able to provide an identification tomorrow.

Karl provides the Identification
Hi Daniel and Lis:
It’s a lovely moth with an appropriately lovely name. It looks like a male Splendid Ghost Moth, Aenetus ligniveren (Hepialidae). It ranges from southern Queensland to Tasmania.  You can also check out here and here for more photos and information. Regards.  Karl

Dear Daniel,
Thanks for your assistance in identifying the moth, you have a great site and a very useful facility.
Regards,
Lis

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moth
July 16, 2010
Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada
I saw this moth on my deck today and am very curious what it is. I am located in Alberta Canada and have never seen one of these before.
brent

Four Spotted Ghost Moth

Dear Brent,
Alas, we do not recognize your moth.  We discovered a Moths of Canada Website, but we did not have any luck with a proper identification.  We will post your letter and hope one of our readers can assist with this identification.

Four Spotted Ghost Moth

I was on that site too and couldnt find anything, thanks a lot for your help!!! I’ll check your site from time to time and to see if someone knows…thanks again!!!

Thanks so much to Markidavana who provided a comment identifying this Four Spotted Ghost Moth, Sthenopis purpurascens.  Interestingly, when we went to BugGuide to create a link, we found Brent’s photos already posted and identified.  There was not much information on this species on BugGuide, but we did learn that this moth is in a family, Hepialidae,  that has not been represented previously on What’s That Bug? so we created a new category for it.  BugGuide does provide family information, including:  “””to attract females, the male hovers over open ground, sometimes slowly rising and falling [like a ghost]” which is credited to Wikipedia.  BugGuide also indicates:  “Early instar larvae feed on plant detritus, decaying wood, or fungi; later instars bore into roots or stems of woody plants, or feed on moss, and the leaves of grasses and other herbaceous plants.  Some adults cannot feed because they lack mouthparts” and “Considered a ‘primitive’ moth because of a combination of adult and larval characters. Adult moths lack a strong wing coupling mechanism and instead use a ‘jugum’, which is a thumb like projection between fore- and hindwings. Wings do not remain coupled while in flight. While present in other primitive lepidoptera, the exact function remains speculative. This feature is often strongly, and best, developed in the Hepialidae. Adults also have reduced or sometimes absent mouthparts.”  The Entomology Collection of the University of Alberta website also has some interesting information, including:  “habitat Mature mixedwood and poplar forest, in particular near wetlands.  seasonality Adults fly in Alberta from early July through mid-August, peaking the last half of July. identification Adults are large (6.6-10.0 cm wingspan) long-winged moths that occur in two color forms, purple-grey and yellow-brown. Until recently the yellow-brown form was thought to be a separate species, S. quadriguttatus. The forewings have a darker oblique median band, a darker terminal area and darker spots along the costa. There are two small, silver spots near the wing base. Hindwings are even purple brown or salmon pink, unmarked except for one or two small spots on the outer part of the leading edge. The antennae in both sexes are greatly reduced and hair-like, and separate them from all other large Alberta moths. The similar S. argenteomaculatus (Harris) does not occur in Alberta, and the literature reports for argentomaculatus are errors (Schmidt and Lawrie, 1999). life history Females deposit eggs in the vicinity of the host while in flight. The larvae bore into the roots of poplars, willows or alder where they complete the life cycle. The larvae apparently take two years to complete the lifecycle, and adults in Alberta are more common in odd-numbered years. Mature larvae are about 50-60 cm long, with cream-white bodies, brown heads and brown bases of the setae. The adults are crepuscular and are poorly attracted to light. conservation A fairly common, widespread insect; no concerns. diet info Larvae bore into the roots of poplars (Populus sp.), and to a lesser extent willow (Salix) and alder (Alnus). range Labrador and New York north and west to British Columbia and the Northwest Territories, south in the mountains to Arizona. In Alberta, it is most common throughout the Boreal forest and Aspen Parkland regions, less common in the Foothills and Mountains, and along wooded parts of the valleys in the Grasslands region.”   While writing our book, we did learn this information on a moth in the same family, the Australian Ghost Moth on the University of Florida Book of Insect Records :  “The highest lifetime fecundity among non-social insects appears to be a lepidopteran. An Australian ghost moth female, Trictena atripalpis (Hepialidae), captured at Adelaide, laid 29,100 eggs (Tindale 1932), and when it was dissected 15,000 eggs were found in the ovaries. These moths oviposit while in flight and tend to lay their eggs in the vicinity of the red gumtree (Eucalyptus rostrata), on the roots of which their larvae feed. There are other ghost moths that are larger, which may have an even higher fecundity, but I’ve found no literature on egg number in these species.

Thanks so much for all your help! I couldn’t believe how fast I got an answer about that moth!!! I’ll be sure you use this site again next time I have a question. Thanks!!

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Green, large Moth.
February 21, 2010
This thing careened into my kitchen last night and started laying eggs. It’s about 5 inches in length. The photos are a better description than I could ever give.
Nina
Northcote, Auckland, New Zealand

Puriri Moth

Hi Nina,
Though there is considerable variation in the markings based on photographs online, we are confident that this is the Puriri Moth or Ghost Moth, Aenetus virescens.  There are many Maori names for the largest moth native to New Zealand, and found only on the North Island.  These names include pepe tuna, mokoroa, ngutara and pungoungou according to the Insects and Spiders of New Zealand website which includes the following facts:  “is the largest moth in Aotearoa / New Zealand, and is found only on Te Ika a Māui / North Island;  relatives live in Australia, New Caledonia, and Papua New Guinea;  caterpillars start life living in a bracket fungus;  older caterpillars make a refuge tunnel in the trunk of a large tree;  caterpillars feed on the wound tissue of the tree around the tunnel entrance, which is concealed by a silken ‘tent’;  pupation occurs in the tunnel;  adult moths do not feed, and live only for a few days;  moths are active at night.”  The New Zealand Farm Forestry Association website has wonderful photos of the life cycle, including caterpillar images.  The New Zealand Tramper website has an image of a living moth that more closely resembles your photograph than most of the other online images, though it has more markings than your specimen.

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What type of bug is this?
December 18, 2009
Hi, my husband found this bug crawling up his leg. After his initial shock he snapped a photo. We were camping on the Nullabour Plain, South Australia. The climate there is very dry and hot, with little vegitation and very little water. The bug was about 40mm in length. It would be great to put a name to this amazing bug.
jackie
Nullabor Plain, South Australia

Unknown Newly Metamorphosed Moth

Newly Metamorphosed Wood Moth

Hi Jackie,
This is a newly metamorphosed Moth whose wings have not yet expanded.  We believe it may be a Tiger Moth in the family Arctiidae, but we are not certain.  Perhaps one of our readers can supply a species identification.

Update:  May 12, 2015
We just received a comment that this appears to be
Endoxyla amphiplecta, or a related species and the image on ButterflyHouse looks very similar.

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Large Green New Zealand Moth
September 28, 2009
Hi, This moth greeted me on the steps to my house when I returned from work. Most likely it was there when I went to work. It is still early spring here.
You can see one wing in the photo. The other is wrapped onto the opposite side and held near the belly. The body is full, long, and thick, and the tail end can be seen poking out of the bottom of the wings.
Pictures were taken with a 8mp camera on tulip setting. When you zoom in you can see the water droplets and the hairs. It is very cool looking.
When it became dark it flew away. It was about 5cm long. Please let me know the name.
Kind Regards,
MarkcNZ
Eastbourne New Zealand (Near Wellington)

Unknown Green Moth from New Zealand

Puriri Moth from New Zealand

Hi MarkcNZ,
This is an impressive moth.  Over the years, we have properly identified two green moths from New Zealand and Australia, but this appears to represent yet a different species.  The markings are somewhat similar to a Geometrid, Tatosoma tipulata, that we posted in May, but it is obviously different.  Several times, we have posted images of moths in the genus Aenetus, from the family Hepialidae, known as Ghost Moths or Swift Moths.  That is our best guess and possibilities are posted on an Australian Lepidoptera page.  We started to follow that thought, and we found a species Aenetus virescens, known as the Puriri Moth, that Wikipedia calls:  “New Zealand’s largest native moth.
”  We also located an image on Flickr.  We are confident that the identification is correct despite variations in the markings from image to image.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination