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

Pyralis farinalis (Meal moth)

Kingdom: Animalia
Clade: Euarthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Pyralidae
Genus: Pyralis
Species: P. farinalis
Binomial name: Pyralis farinalis
Synonyms: Asopia domesticalis, Phalaena farinalis, Pyralis fraternal, P. manihotalis, P. marianii, P. meridionalis, P. orientalis, P. sardoplumbea
Common name: Meal moth, Flour moth

Pyralis farinalis is a colourful, cosmopolitan species of moth with a wingspan of 18–30 mm. Though found worldwide is more common in temperate regions. Its larvae are pests of certain stored foods, namely milled plant products. The commodities affected are wheat, barley, oats, corn, peas, beans, flour, peanuts, dried fruit, potatoes in storage, mixed feed, processed cereals, hay (alfalfa and clover). The signs of infestation are contamination with silk webbing that bind the food surface and the presence of frass (excrement), cast skins, pupal cases, adult remains.
An adult Pyralis farinalis usually rests with the tip of its abdomen turned up. The forewings are distinctly patterned. They are crossed by two white lines, the basal line curved in an arc, and the distal line is wavy; the area between the lines is light yellowish-brown; areas outside the distal line and inside the basal line are a reddish brown. The moth’s eyes have a green sheen.
Moths do not live long after mating (9 to 10 days). Their eggs hatch quickly, which leads this moth to have a quick life cycle and be able to produce multiple generations within a single year. It has been found that P. farinalis typically completes its entire life cycle in the course of eight weeks, and is capable of producing four generations within a year. The fast life cycles of these moths allow them to reproduce and grow their populations rapidly. Healthy females produce an average of 235 eggs in her short lifetime.
The larvae of P. farinalis are a cream colour, hairless and have a brown head. They grow to a length of about 20 mm. They live in tunnels of silk and meal particles which keep them safe from predators and they come to the openings of these tunnels to feed.
Once fully grown, the caterpillars leave their tubes and spin a silken cocoon where they will develop into an adult. After 6-8 weeks the pupae will emerge as fully developed adults.

Moth resting with an upturned abdomen.

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/