T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Caterpillar of the Kawakawa Looper moth (Cleora scriptaria)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Subclass: Pterygota
Infraclass: Neoptera
Superorder: Endopterygota
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Geometridae
Genus: Cleora
Species: C.scriptaria
Scientific name: Cleora scriptaria 
Common names: Caterpillar of the Kawakawa Looper, Grey Evening Moth

Cleora scriptaria is a native moth found throughout New Zealand with a wingspan of 40-50 mm.
Its caterpillars feed nocturnally on leaves of Kawakawa (Macropiper excelsum) and other native shrubs including ake-ake (Dodonaea viscosa), Horopito (Pseudowintera), Makomako (Aristotelia serrata), Ramarama and the introduced feijoa tree (Acca sellowiana).   Most kawakawa plants have holes in the leaves made by these caterpillars.
A caterpillar of Cleora scriptaria moth on a Kawakawa leaf.  Some caterpillars are green like in the photo but others develop darker markings and body lines as they grow.









A Cleora scriptaria caterpillar has changed colour and preparing to spin its cocoon.


A Cleora scriptaria caterpillar spinning it's cocoon.


The cocoon.


The holes in Kawakawa leaves left by this caterpillar.  This damage does not seem to effect the plant.

The Kawakawa Looper also called Grey Evening Moth