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


Wiseana spp: (Porina moths)

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:     Arthropoda
Class:        Insecta
Order:       Lepidoptera
Family:      Hepialidae
Genus:      Wiseana
Species:     Wiseana. spp
Binomial name: Wiseana spp
Synonyms:    Elhamma cervinata, Hepialus despectus, Porina vexata, Pielus variolaris.
Scientific name: Wiseana spp.
Common name: Porina moths

There are seven porina species (Wiseana cervinata, W.copularis, W. fuliginea, W. jocosa, W. mimica, W. umbraculata and W. signata) and they are difficult to distinguish from each other.
Porina caterpillars are grazers and feed on lawns and pasture grasses and have the potential to reduce the long term quality and production of pasture. The damage they cause is mostly noticeable from April to September.
The brown adult moths mate as soon as they emerge from the soil (spring and early summer) and at dusk fly in large numbers during spring and early summer. They do not feed, but each moth can lay up to 3000 eggs on the pasture surface. They only live for about four days.
After the eggs hatch the small caterpillars first take shelter among the leaf bases. They then construct silk-lined casings on the soil surface, and as they grow they construct permanent burrows in the soil. They emerge from their burrows at night to feed, severing grass and clover leaves at the base of plants and dragging them back to their burrows where they are eaten.
Caterpillars and the damage they cause are mostly noticeable from April to September.

For more details visit http://pestweb.nzpps.org/print_species.php?sp=23   

Another web site on the Wiseana species visit  John R. Grehan site at http://johngrehan.net/index.php/hepialidae/wiseana

Wiseana signata




The next two photos are of another moth of the species Wiseana with a slightly different colour pattern.




The Porina caterpilla (Wiseana spp)