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


Musotima nitidalis

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Crambidae
Genus: Musotima
Species: M. nitidalis
Binomial name: Musotima nitidalis
Synonyms: Isopteryx nitidalis, Diathrausta timaralis.

Musotima nitidalis is a nocturnal species of moth known from New Zealand and most of Australia. It is a small delicate moth with strong patterns of orange, black, brown, cream, tan. It has a 14mm wingspan. Adults are brown with various white markings outlined in black on each forewing.
Musotima nitidalis larvae feed on the undersides of the leaves of various Polypodiophyta fern species, including Maidenhair fern (Adiantum aethiopicum) and Bracken fern (Pteridium esculentum). These caterpillars have a transparent skin and are pale green and live in a sparse web, feeding on the undersides of the fronds. Pupation takes place in a folded frond held by strands of white silk.

Photographed early September.