Ahi Pepe MothNet

Puka Whakamārama o Te Pepe Nui - Te Hīheru

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Puka Whakamārama o Te Pepe Nui - Te Hīheru

Beginners' Guide to the Macro Moths - Te Hīheru

This guide covers the dry inland basins of the Central South Island (Whakatipu-Manuherekia) the Crosby Moth regions of Central Otago (CO); Otago Lakes (OL) and the MacKenzie Basin (MK). You can find all these regions and the description of the boundaries in the Crosby et al. 1976 publication.

These field guides to New Zealand's Native Macro Moths are a one of a kind quality product with high resolution life sized moth images. The guides are a handy 6 panel concertina style foldout on offset printed on (200gsm) laminated high quality card. They are designed for small hands and hard work (water and tear resistant). Each panel is 15cm(w) x 27cm (h) folding out to a total unfolded size of 90cm(w) x 27cm (h). The text, content and design are by the Ahi Pepe MothNet project partners. Illustrations are by Sean W. Gilles. The moth list was compiled by Dr Robert Hoare with comment from Brian Patrick and NZs lepidopterist community. The moth images are high resolution photographs by Birgit Rhode of moth specimens in the NZAC taken with funding from the Terrestrial Freshwater Biodiversity Information System (TFBIS) programme.

These guides are produced by Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research as part of the Ahi Pepe MothNet project funded by MBIE "Unlocking Curious Minds" initiative.

We chose Meterana meyricci as the moth emblem for the Puka Whakamārama o Te Pepe Nui - Te Hīheru.  Meterana meyricci is the instant rebuttal to the common misconception that moths are boring and drab colours. It is a firm favourite at face painting sessions.

You can see from the images below that the brightly coloured pink is on the hind wings and abdomen but not the forewings, thorax or head. This is quite a common strategy in the insect world as it means the moth can close its forewings over the brightly coloured pink parts and hide. Bright colours that can be hidden like this are usually used for signalling - it's the moth equivalent of a tudor court lady flashing an ankle.

Te Hīheru region is named for the bailer that is usually depicted as sitting on the center of the stern end of the waka. Appropriate for these dry dusty basins where the local streams often have small pieces of pink stone. I have since found out that this is called Piemontite schist or Aroha stone. If you take another look at the forewings of Meterana meyricci you’ll see that amongst the luxurious grey green they are studded with flakes of gold. An appropriate emblem for a region whose recent history was so heavily influenced by gold mining. Te Hīheru is the only guide that Meterana meyricci (the Pink Moth) appears on.


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Image: B. Rhode, Landcare Research

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