Common name: Carpet moth, orange cress moth
Order: Lepidoptera Family: Geometridae
Size: About 24mm wingspan
Xanthorhoe bulbulata was a vibrant insect which was common in Central Otago at the beginning of the 1900s but rapidly declined in numbers between the 1930s-1990s. The moth was a good example of the use of “contrast colouring” with bright orange-yellow underwings could be seen when flying but which could be rapidly folded underneath its duller forewings when sitting on foliage to hide from predators. The last time the species was found was in March 1991 and it was recently declared extinct. The rapid decline in this species and a few other moth species is likely to be the result of ecological changes resulting in the loss of important host plants.
Hoare, R. (November 2015) – personal communication.
Smith, I. ed. (1997). The State of New Zealand’s Environment 1997. Wellington, New Zealand: GP Publications.
Patrick, B. (2000). Conservation status of two rare New Zealand geometrid moths. Wellington, New Zealand: Department of Conservation.