Story: Butterflies and moths

Magpie moth caterpillar

Magpie moth caterpillar

The caterpillar of the magpie moth (Nyctemera annulata) is known to Māori as makokōrori. These caterpillars are nicknamed ‘wooly bears’ because of their bristles. The species is endemic to New Zealand, but over the last few decades the eastern Australian relative (Nyctemera amica) has arrived and has displaced and interbred with it. The Australian species is now found as far south as Nelson. The caterpillar feeds on plants such as ragwort and cineraria. With contrasting wings of black and white, the adult is a day-flying moth often mistaken for a butterfly.

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How to cite this page:

Brian Patrick, 'Butterflies and moths - Life cycle', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 26 January 2022)

Story by Brian Patrick, published 24 Sep 2007