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


Caterpillar of the Kowhai moth (Uresiphita polygonalis maorialis)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Superfamily: Pyraloidea
Family: Crambidae
Genus: Uresiphita
Species: U. polygonalis  maorialis
Binomial name: Uresiphita polygonalis maorialis
Common name: Kowhai Moth caterpillar

The Kowhai moth caterpillar is about 15mm long. The body colour can be green to orange with lines of black spots along its body. These spotted caterpillars feed on kowhai, brooms, lupin, gorse, clover.
When poked, kowhai moth caterpillars tend to drop and curl up into a protective spiral. (As in photo below).
They can occur in large numbers and strip many leaves off kowhai trees.





A caterpillar in a protective spiral.


A green form.


Yellow form



Kowhai Moth caterpillar.