|The membrane over a puriri caterpillar hole|
Once the moth has emerged, a hole is left in the tree. These holes become home to other insects, such as weta. One species of tree that the caterpillars like is the putaputaweta tree, so named for the wetas living in the holes. A couple of days ago, I found a mahoe tree, that looked something like a puriri caterpillar motel, it had so many holes all in a row.
|A row of puriri caterpillar holes - all empty|
Perhaps given the name of the moth, it isn't surprising the one of the trees the caterpillar likes is the puriri tree! But this name is the common English name, a common Maori name is pepe tuna.
|A puriri moth found in the bush|
The moth is New Zealand's largest, like many moths its mostly active at night and only lives for a few days.
|page 12 of "In the Bush"|
Places you can find puriri caterpillar holes in trees around Wellington:
Zealandia, Nga Manu Nature Reserve, Butterfly Creek, Kaitoke Scenic Reserve, Porirua Scenic Reserve, Maungakotuktuku Scenic Reserve, Otaki Forks...
To find out more about puriri moths:
Terrain (Taranaki Educational Resource) is a great site for information about New Zealand natives, plants and animals www.terrain.net.nz/friends-of-te-henui-group/moths/puriri-moth-aenetus-virescens.html
Landcare Research have a fact sheet http://nzacfactsheets.landcareresearch.co.nz/factsheet/OrganismProfile/Puriri_moth_-_Aenetus_virescens.html
Nga Manu Nature Reserve has amazingly been able to record the emergence of a puriri moth from its hole www.ngamanuimages.org.nz