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Oecophorid moths are an unusual family of small moths occurring throughout the world. Their caterpillars usually feed on dead leaves or in dead wood, unlike most moth caterpillars which feed on living leaves of plants.
New Zealand has a diverse and interesting fauna of Oecophoridae, containing well over 200 species. The evolution of such a relatively large number of oecophorid species in New Zealand is probably due to the abundance of leaf-litter and dead wood in its ancient evergreen forests. Most NZ
Oecophoridae have not been studied in detail since the 1920s, and only two new species have been scientifically described in the last 50 years. However, many other unnamed species are known in collections, and eight of these are described in this book.
The genus Hierodoris probably belongs to an ancient lineage, and only occurs in NZ. The 18 species are very varied in size and colouration, and some are very attractive, with metallic shining scales on their wings.
This Fauna gives an overview of NZ Oecophoridae and defines a new genus-group, the `Hierodoris group'. The systematic placement of this group is discussed. The endemic NZ genus Hierodioris Meyrick is revised and fully redescribed, and all species are fully described and the adults illustrated in colour. The larvae and pupae are described for the species in which they are known. Information is given on biology, distribution, and conservation status, with five species considered potentially threatened at the national level.
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