'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Thursday, 14 January 2010

Peacock Moth


Last autumn I had this lovely visitor. What lovely eye spots gleaming in the light! Its latin name is Dasypodia, but it is known by a number of common names: Wattle Moth, Peacock Moth, Owl Moth, Moon Moth and Pepe Atua to the Maori. According to Andrew Crowe, it was known to the Maori by the odd one that blew across from Australia before the first wattle trees were planted in New Zealand, after which it became established. The caterpillars eat wattle (acacia) leaves. It's quite large at about 70 mm across.



9 comments:

  1. How lovely - must be a bit of an entomology week this week.......

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  2. Professor Pudding (Entymology Dept)18.1.10

    I think the most common alternative name for dasypodia selenophora is the Old Lady Moth.

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  3. DBM - Thanks for your interest... I'm just back from Miranda (put it on your list of places to go while in NZ)

    Prof. Pudding! Welcome to TLVD. It's always good to get new points of view, however misguided. How long since your insects 'DEParTed you?

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  4. Beautiful wings, the shiney bits remind me of paua shells.

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  5. Yes Pal, it's amazing how close-ups can reveal beauty you'd otherwise miss.

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  6. Ha. I'm reading your blog backwards in bits (rather like chocolate one can have too much of a Good Thing).

    I did a post on this moth (well, perhaps not this exact moth!) on Tuesday - using Andrew Crowe as well of course.

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  7. GB. Almost certainly not this exact moth ... but there's that coincidence thingy again at work. You must have some wattles nearby....?

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  8. Baldric1.1.11

    I live in Wellington and found one of these on the road but it was much darker (almost black) however the eye spots were very clear and it was the second largest moth that I had seen behing the Puriri moth. Is the one I found D.selenophora or D.cymatodes?

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  9. Welcome to TLVD Baldric. Um, I'm flattered you think I'd know the answer to your question. All I can say is that when you said it was very dark, I remembered seeing really dark ones somewhere too... Unfortunately I've lived in Hawkes Bay, Wellington, Christchurch and the Waikato... so I have no idea where it was.
    Perhaps Google knows.

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