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Tmetolophota steropastis
Tmetolophota steropastis female.jpg
Female
Tmetolophota steropastis male.jpg
Male
Scientific classification
Kingdom:
Phylum:
Class:
Order:
Family:
Genus:
Tmetolophota
Species:
T. steropastis
Binomial name
Tmetolophota steropastis
(Meyrick, 1887)
Synonyms
  • Mamestra steropastis Meyrick, 1887
  • Persectania steropastis (Meyrick, 1887)

Tmetolophota steropastis, or the flax notcher moth, is a species of moth in the family Noctuidae. It is endemic to New Zealand. New Zealand flax is the host plant for the larvae of this moth. The damage the larvae cause to the leaves ensures that they cannot be used for weaving.

Taxonomy

This species was first described by Edward Meyrick in 1887 as Mamestra steropastis. In 2019 Robert J. B. Hoare undertook a major review of New Zealand noctuids. Hoare, having inspected the type material of this species, placed it within the genus Ichneutica.

Description

Larvae of this species have dark and light horizontal stripes. The adults have a forewing length of 16 - 20mm.

Distribution

T. steropastis is endemic to New Zealand. It is common and can be found throughout the country.

Habitat and host plant

Larvae damage to Phormium tenax
"Notch" formed from larvae damage to Phormium tenax.

The larvae of T. steropastis consume the leaves of the New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax).

Interactions with humans

The larvae of this species is regarded as a pest as it chews distinctive notches in the sides of the flax leaves. This damage ensures the leaf cannot be used in weaving.

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