Caterpillar of the Kawakawa Looper moth (Cleora 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 holes in Kawakawa leaves left by this caterpillar. This damage does not seem to effect the plant.