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


Sestra flexata (Fern looper moth)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Superfamily: Geometroidea
Family: Geometridae
Genus: Sestra
Species: S. flexata
Binomial name: Sestra flexata
Common name: Common fern looper moth

Sestra flexata is a New Zealand native moth species was first described by Walker in 1862. The moth has a body length of about 12 mm. It is active throughout New Zealand from September through to March. Certain ferns species are hosts to its caterpillars. Pteridium esculentum (common bracken), Pteris species, Microsorum pustulatum (Hound's tongue), Histiopteris incisa (Matata) and probably others. As a defence mechanism when approached by predators the caterpillars drop to the ground and hide under leaf litter.