North Island Zebra Moth (Declana atronivea)
The North Island zebra moth is a member of the family of geometer moths. It is a native of New Zealand and is notable for the asymmetric markings on their wings. The only other insect other than this moth with such markings is the mantis Tithrone roseipennis.
Description and Identification
Caterpillars come in varying shades of brown, from black to green to white. They are lumpy and, early on, can camouflage as a bird dropping especially when curled up on a leaf. Mature larvae can reach up to 3 cm.
Pupation takes place inside a lightly colored cocoon amongst the leaves of the host plant.
Sexual Dimorphism: Present. The female has darker underwings and more markings on the forewings.
Color and Appearance
Forewing: When the wings are opened, they are white and covered with dark brown or black markings. When the wings are closed, the colors and patterns still remain visible.
Hindwing: When the wings are opened, they are translucent. When the wings are closed, the colors are no longer visible.
Average wingspan: 4-4.5 cm
Flight pattern: Erratic
Season: February – March
The eggs are initially green, turn blue with purple spots after a week, and finally, become light purple just before hatching. They are oval and a little rough on the surface. These eggs are singly laid at the end of October, hatching after 11 days.
|Other names||North Island lichen moth|
|Distribution||New Zealand; mainly parts of North Island, including Mount Taranaki, Mount Ruapehu, Napier, Otaki, and Wellington|
|Lifespan of Adults||Not recorded|
|Host Plants||Five Finger and lancewood|
|Adult Diet||Does not feed|
Did You Know
- English entomologist Francis Walker first described this species in 1865.