'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.

Go here to find out more.

Monday, 6 February 2012

White New Zealand Moth

Ivy was growing all over this trellis some years ago. I planted it.

I remember my Dad saying 'You may regret planting that. That kind of ivy gets everywhere.'

And it did. And it set seeds, and there were ivy babies all over the garden too. So I got rid of it by pulling up the babies (quick to write, much longer to do) and cutting the main plant off it its ankles. Now the vine itself is finally rotting enough to release its grip on the trellis.

But this is not what this post was meant to be about.

It's about a white moth.
Spot the moth.

This is how I first saw it, pretending to be an unlikely bit of white lichen on a rose bush. It was clearly evolved to 'hug', and it fooled me into thinking it wasn't a moth at first.

But it seemed to feel confident that it could pass as a bit of lichen on the trellis too:

Does anyone know what it is?

My Andrew Crowe points me to the Izatha species (White Lichen Tuft), but this one doesn't appear to have the 'tuft of raised scales on the front of each wing'. (p. 38 2002)

I think it's quite lovely, like a white cuddly Teddy bear.

Ed: Peter says it's a forest semilooper or manuka moth (Declana floccosa), which I missed in Crowe. Thank you.

'Native. Common all year on tree trunks or posts. The twig-like caterpillars eat manuka leaves, pine, tawa, native beech, tutu and makomako.'


  1. Hansome critter. It appears that the body is also white with spots but I can't identify it at all. I wonder if it appears in the UK. If it does then CJ may know.

  2. I suspect it's a NZ native Geeb...

  3. Nope, sorry, I think Katherine is right. I don't recognise it but there are some similar species in the UK that go by the name of ermines so it might be worth trying that in NZ moth lists.

  4. Thanks SS. Ermine is a nice description.