Thursday, 12 June 2014

A Puriri Moth - Pepetuna...

Mrs Diamond brought something very special into class today - a Puriri Moth (known in Maori as Pepetuna).  The Puriri Moth is New Zealand's largest and most colourful type of moth.

You can see some wonderful footage of the Puriri Moth and hear a beautiful song about them by clicking here.  Mrs Diamond found the dead moth on a bush walk one day.  She has carefully looked after it.  You can see the green colour on it's beautiful big wings.

Here is some information from the Department of Conservation about this special moth:

The bright green püriri moth is New Zealand’s largest moth with a wingspan of up to 15 cm. It is found only in the North Island. The moth, which does not have any mouthparts and therefore cannot eat, dies after about two days. It is active only during dusk and night when it must mate and lay eggs.

The püriri moth caterpillar spends much of its life living inside the trunk of a tree (for example püriri, putaputaweta, wineberry or lacebark). The small caterpillar burrows deep into the trunk where it feeds on the stem tissue of the tree. It stays here until it reaches about 10 cm long which can take up to five years. After it leaves the tree it forms a chrysalis and turns itself into a bright green moth.

The caterpillar is eaten by ruru (morepork), käkä and robin as well as cats and rats.

We read a wonderful book called Pepetuna, by Denise Whitmore.  We loved this story and it taught us so much about these unique and beautiful insects.

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