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Moth: Theoxena scissaria

Status: Nationally vulnerable

Theoxena scissaria is found in North Canterbury, Mid Canterbury, South Canterbury, Mackenzie, Central Otago and Otago Lakes. Specimens have been collected near the foot of Mount Hutt, the Winchmore Irrigation Research Station near Ashburton, at the lower slopes of Mount Ida in Otago, Horseshoe Slip on Mount Grey, and Ashley Gorge. It\’s possibly extinct on the Canterbury Plains.


The male is some 23-25 mm. Forewings are narrow, hind margin rather strongly sinuate; dull white, slightly sprinkled with dark fuscous; a curved dark fuscous median streak from inner margin near base almost to apex, sharply defined above, suffused beneath; a black dot in the disc, and a row of dots on hind margin. Hindwings elongate, narrow, apex broadly projecting; white; a blackish dot in the disc, and a row on hind margin.

Like many endemic invertebrates, the life history is still uncertain. Adults have been collected in late winter at the foot of Mount Ida, though none were collected there after August. This species has also been recorded as being on the wing in June, December and January. It\’s most commonly seen between the months of May and July. A second generation emerges during the summer months. Although the sample in the above photograph was collected during the day, like most moths, it\’s attracted to light.

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