The puriri or ghost moth is the largest native moth of New Zealand. The wing span may be up to 15 cm. The predominant colour is bright green. The forewing is interspersed with paler or darker markings. The hind wings are of a lighter colour than the forewings. The adult moth is not common, but in summer specimens may be attracted to street lights or other bright lights. They are clumsy fliers and soon damage themselves. It is therefore rare to find a perfect specimen. The caterpillar is a wood borer and lives in the outer heart wood of the puriri, manuka, lancewood, wineberry, titoko and other native trees. It has adapted itself to some introduced trees such as the oak, apple, and willow. The feeding tunnels measure up to 10 mm in diameter, and the exit hole on the tree trunk is covered with a silken mat produced by the larva.
by Roy Alexander Harrison, D.SC., Senior Lecturer in Agricultural Zoology, Lincoln Agricultural College.