I nearly stood on her.
A female puriri moth arrived on our front porch in Miranda. It was so huge and green my mother and I were unsure of what it was and called Landcare to identify it. A trail of small white eggs followed it, which were gradually turning hard and black. In consequent research and emails with Robert Hoare of Landcare Research, her bizarre lifecycle began to emerge (see ‘Life Stages and Annual Cycle‘). These little eggs I would need to take to a forest floor with leaf litter and dead branches where after a few weeks they’d hatch. The emerging caterpillar eats for a few months, before finding and climbing a suitable tree to burrow into for 2-3 years, as a now purple caterpillar. It then pupates and hatches into one of these large, gorgeous and highly variably marked moth (usually green, but blue-green, yellow, red and albino have been seen), which lives for just a few days. The moth therefore has no mouth parts. It is unknown how the male and female find each other in such a short period. A female will lay sometimes thousands of eggs and the cycle begins again.