MOTH OF THE DAY - Monday: Ornate case moths – Reductoderces

The coldest mornings can bring out the coolest creatures

It’s international moth-week and you might think great for northern hemisphere summer but a little chilly for delicate moths to be on the wing here.

That is mostly true, but nature always has exceptions. Ornate case moths are a case in point. Across Aotearoa in the winter, case moths in the genus Reductoderces are emerging as adults from their little green silken cases. A still frosty morning at dawn is the best time to see them. Hidden flightless females on a mossy green branch or an algae matted rockface will be hanging from their cases. With no need to fly, they are using a trick common among moths – wafting a unique scent or pheromone. Males with a wingspan of only a few millimetres must fly along that scent trail to find a female for mating. There are species unique to many parts of the country, but being so secretive in the middle of winter, many of them are still to be discovered and named.

For more information:

Article: B.H. Patrick 2014. Winter-emerging moths of New Zealand (

Posted by morganemerien morganemerien, July 20, 2021 07:23


😂 there is only one single obs of this genus on inatNZ!!

Posted by dave_holland 4 months ago (Flag)

@dave_holland We've got only one observation with a photo, but we've also got Brian Patrick's observations without photos that give more of an idea of where and when to look for these. See

Posted by jon_sullivan 4 months ago (Flag)

Ok yea thanks that's more like it! There's even one in Papatowai!

Posted by dave_holland 4 months ago (Flag)

@nhudson what do you reckon is the most likely species of trees to look around plz?

Posted by dave_holland 4 months ago (Flag)

Sorry, no idea about any specific species but any with mossy or algae films growing in native forest, even quite scrappy bits. Have never seen any of the winter emerging endemic psychids despite them occurring in some of the small Auckland City reserves. There is a good chance they are lurking on iNaturalist as unidentified Psychidae as they are a bit of a taxonomic mess and need a modern revision to sort out what are valid species and genera, as well describe the undescribed species.

Posted by nhudson 4 months ago (Flag)

Okay thx :) man they are going to be a mission to find!

Posted by dave_holland 4 months ago (Flag)

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