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


Declana floccosa (Forest semilooper moth)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Geometridae
Genus: Declana
Species: D. floccosa
Binomial name: Declana floccosa
Common name: Forest Semilooper

Declana floccosa is a common, New Zealand, nocturnal, native moth with a wingspan of 27–35 mm. It is extremely variable in colour and patterning. It is attracted to light and during the day it rests on fences and tree trunks where its mottled grey colouring causes it to look like lichen.
The moth lays oval eggs in an upright position on the leaves of the host plant. The are laid singly or slightly attached to each other in rows containing up to 50 eggs. They are first a bluish green in colour but turn to dark brown after a few days and later become reddish brown. They hatch in 10-14 days. When hatched the caterpillars feed on a wide range of native and exotic broad-leaved and coniferous shrubs and trees. Exotic hosts include Pinus radiata and other Pinus species, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Larix and Eucalyptus. It has little economic importance. 
A fully grown caterpillar is 20-30 mm long and can reach this stage within four weeks of hatching. When fully grown the caterpillar descends to the ground on a silken thread and pupates either on or just inside the litter layer in a loose cocoon usually incorporating dead leaf or needle fragments. Pupation lasts for at least four weeks. It is thought that there is only one main generation per year. 

For more details visit the New Zealand Farm Foresty website at:
http://www.nzffa.org.nz/farm-forestry-model/the-essentials/forest-health-pests-and-diseases/Pests/Declana-floccosa

Photos below of Declana floccosa  showing the the great variation in the species. Notice the little raised ridges over the wings.