Batrachedra agaura

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Batrachedra agaura
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Clade: Euarthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Batrachedridae
Genus: Batrachedra
Species: B. agaura
Binomial name
Batrachedra agaura
Meyrick, 1901[1]

Batrachedra agaura is a species of moth in the family Batrachedridae. It is endemic to New Zealand. This species is distributed throughout the country.


This species was described in 1901 by Edward Meyrick.[2] George Hudson discussed and illustrated this species both in his 1928 publication The Butterflies and Moths of New Zealand,[3] and in his 1950 book Fragments of New Zealand entomology.[4] John S. Dugdale criticised the quality of Hudson's illustrations arguing that the images were not as brown as specimens of the moth.[5] The lectotype was collected by Meyrick at Mount Arthur below Flora Saddle in the Nelson district.[5] This specimen is held at the Natural History Museum, London.[5]


Meyrick described the species as follows:

♂♀. 13-17 m.m. Head pale whitish-ochreous. Palpi whitish, second joint dark fuscous towards apex, scale-projection slight, terminal joint more or less suffused with dark fuscous except base and apex. Antennae and thorax whitish-ochreous, reddish-tinged. Abdomen ochreous-whitish. Legs dark fuscous, suffusedly ringed with ochreous-whitish. Forewings whitish-ochreous or pale reddish-ochreous, more or less suffused with dark fuscous or dark reddish-fuscous irroration ; plical and first and second discal stigmata large, dark fuscous, plical at ​25 , first discal slightly beyond middle : cilia pale fuscous, on costa ochreous-whitish dotted with dark fuscous, round apex with a black basal line. Hindwings rather dark fuscous ; cilia light fuscous or pale ochreous.[2]

Alfred Philpott described the proboscis of the adult of this species as being long and well developed.[6] The female of the species is lighter in appearance than the male.[4] The colour and markings of this species shows considerable variation.[3]

Sooty Beech Scale.


This species is endemic to New Zealand.[1][7] Specimens have been collected from Kaeo in the North Island to Invercargill in the South Island and it is regarded as being generally distributed throughout the country.[3] This species has also been recorded at Pitt Island in the Chatham Islands.[8]

Biology and behaviour[edit]

Adults are on the wing from October to February.[9] They are nocturnal and are occasionally attracted to light.[9] The larvae form a cocoon in their feeding place and pupate there.[9]

Habitat and host species[edit]

This moth prefers native forest habitat, especially beech forest and manuka scrubland.[3][9] It is also known to inhabit kanuka forest.[10] The larvae of this species is associated with sooty mould and sooty beech scale.[11] It has been hypothesised that B. agaura larvae feed on sooty beech scale.[11] However they may also feed on the sooty mold itself.[9] If B. agaura are found to consume scale insects this species will be one of the few that have larvae that are predatory.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Batrachedra agaura Meyrick, 1901". Landcare Research New Zealand Ltd. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Meyrick, Edward (1901). "XVII. Descriptions of New Lepidoptera from New Zealand". Transactions of the Royal Entomological Society of London. 49 (4): 565–580. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2311.1901.tb01373.x. ISSN 1365-2311 – via Biodiversity Heritage Library. 
  3. ^ a b c d Hudson, G. V. (1928). The Butterflies and Moths of New Zealand. Wellington: Ferguson & Osborn Ltd. p. 304. OCLC 25449322. 
  4. ^ a b Hudson, George Vernon (1950). Fragments of New Zealand entomology : a popular account of all the New Zealand cicadas : the natural history of the New Zealand glow-worm : a second supplement to The butterflies and moths of New Zealand, and notes on many other native insects. Wellington, N.Z.: Ferguson & Osborn. p. 106. OCLC 154155584. 
  5. ^ a b c Dugdale, J. S. (1988). "Lepidoptera - annotated catalogue, and keys to family-group taxa" (PDF). Fauna of New Zealand. 14: 1–269. ISBN 0477025188. Retrieved 7 June 2018. 
  6. ^ Philpott, Alfred (1927). "The Maxillae in the Lepidoptera". Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand. 27: 721–746 – via National Library of New Zealand. 
  7. ^ Gordon, Dennis P., ed. (2010). New Zealand inventory of biodiversity. Volume two. Kingdom animalia : chaetognatha, ecdysozoa, ichnofossils. Vol. 2. Christchurch, N.Z.: Canterbury University Press. p. 457. ISBN 9781877257933. OCLC 973607714. 
  8. ^ Emberson, Rowan M.; Muir, C. A.; Early, J. W.; Barratt, B. I. P. (1991). "Lincoln University entomological expedition to Pitt Island" – via Lincoln University Research Archive. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f Hoare, Robert J. B. (2014). A photographic guide to moths & butterflies of New Zealand. Ball, Olivier. Auckland: New Holland Publishers. p. 37. ISBN 9781869663995. OCLC 891672034. 
  10. ^ Dugdale, J. S.; Hutcheson, J. (1997). Invertebrate values of kanuka (Kunzea ericoides) stands, Gisborne region (PDF). Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Conservation, New Zealand. pp. Appendix. ISBN 0478019211. OCLC 53151911. 
  11. ^ a b Morales, C. F.; Hill, M. G.; Walker, A. K. (1988). "Life history of the sooty beech scale (Ultracoelostoma assimile) (Maskell), (Hemiptera: Margarodidae) in New Zealand Nothofagus forests". New Zealand Entomologist. 11 (1): 24–37. doi:10.1080/00779962.1988.9722532. ISSN 0077-9962. 

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