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


Cleora scriptaria (Kawakawa looper moth)

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: Kawakawa Looper, 

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.

Cleora scriptaria moths are extremely variable in size and colour forms. They have a distinctive spot in the middle of the forewing. These spot can be black, white or cream.

Males have feathery antennae.
A male with a white spot.


A male


A female moth with a white spot.


Female


A male moth with a black spot.


Male


A male moth with white spot. Note its feathery antenna.


A female with a white spot.


A male


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 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.