MOTH OF THE DAY - Wednesday: Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s olivine gem moth

This beautiful moth was only named two years ago. Partly because of its winter flight period from July to September. But also, because while naming things is cool and purposeful, there are currently few experts actively documenting Aotearoa’s insect fauna. The olivine gem moth was named Ichneutica peridotea because of the rich green patterning of its wings like the olivine green gem stone peridot. Right now, olivine gem moths are only known from the Auckland area and only one female has ever been seen. But there is a good chance it will be discovered in adjacent regions and parts of Northland. Who knows, maybe someone will share a picture of it during moth week. Another unknown thing about this moth is that no one knows what its caterpillars do for a living? Many moths and butterflies are fussy about what their caterpillars can eat to survive and olivine gem moth is another example. If we want to protect unique species like this then it is critical to protect the places where you find them. But better still to know what species of plant host the caterpillar needs and protect those plant populations. Finding and naming this moth is really just a start, nature still needs mystery solving people.

More information: Hoare R.J.B. (2019)

Olivine Gem Moth Drawing

Posted by morganemerien morganemerien, July 20, 2021 22:58


Interesting. I look forward to seeing the first photo of this species show up on iNaturalist NZ's taxon page for Ichneutica peridotea.

Posted by jon_sullivan 3 months ago (Flag)

Beautiful, Morgane. I used to have a peridot gemstone ring. Nice the moth is named after that colour :-)

Posted by jacqui-nz 3 months ago (Flag)

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