Home>Factsheets > Golden-brown fern moth - Musotima nitidalis

 

Golden-brown fern moth - Musotima nitidalis

By R J B Hoare and N A Martin (2019)

Classification

Phylum:
Arthropoda
Class:
Insecta
Order:
Lepidoptera
Superfamily:
Pyraloidea
Family:
Crambidae
Subfamily:
Musotiminae
Scientific Name:
Musotima nitidalis (Walker, 1866)
  • Adult Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) reared from caterpillar on Sweet fern, Pteris macilenta (Pteridaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) reared from caterpillar on Sweet fern, Pteris macilenta (Pteridaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Sweet fern, Pteris macilenta (Pteridaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Sweet fern, Pteris macilenta (Pteridaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Common Names

Golden-brown fern moth
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Synonyms

Isopteryx nitidalis Walker, 1866
Diathrausta timaralis Felder & Rogenhofer, 1875

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Taxonomic Notes

This species was described from Australia under the name Isopteryx nitidalis, and later from New Zealand as Diathrausta timaralis. The Australian and New Zealand moths are currently considered to belong to the same species, but there are slight differences in wing pattern and further studies are warranted. Recently this moth has begun breeding in southern Britain, where the early stages were doubtless imported on ferns.

Within New Zealand, two rather distinct forms of this species occur. The more golden or reddish brown form has larvae feeding on Dennstaedtiaceae, Dryopteridaceae or Pteridaceae. A usually darker and larger form has larvae feeding on Asplenium oblongifolium and occasionally A. bulbiferum. Morphological differences between the two are slight and mostly variable, so it is not clear at present whether one or two species are involved. The Asplenium feeding ‘form’ will be treated on a separate factsheet.

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Biostatus and Distribution

This native moth is found in Australia and throughout New Zealand, including the Chatham Islands and the Subantarctic Islands, where its fern host plants occur. It is found in native ecosystems on ferns in the families Dennstaedtiaceae, Dryopteridaceae and Pteridaceae.

Conservation status: It is found where its host plants grow in native habits, not threatened.

  • Adult Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) reared from a caterpillar on Lastreopsis microsora (Dryopteridaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Adult Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) reared from a caterpillar on Lastreopsis microsora (Dryopteridaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of adult Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) reared from a caterpillar on Sweet fern, Pteris macilenta (Pteridaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of adult Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) reared from a caterpillar on Sweet fern, Pteris macilenta (Pteridaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • A group of three eggs and a small caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Hypolepis ambigua (Dennstaedtiaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    A group of three eggs and a small caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Hypolepis ambigua (Dennstaedtiaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Young caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Bracken, Pteridium esculentum (Dennstaedtiaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Young caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Bracken, Pteridium esculentum (Dennstaedtiaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Young caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Lastreopsis microsora (Dryopteridaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Young caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Lastreopsis microsora (Dryopteridaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Large caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Bracken, Pteridium esculentum (Dennstaedtiaceae): note the pale head capsule. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Large caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Bracken, Pteridium esculentum (Dennstaedtiaceae): note the pale head capsule. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Large caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Hypolepis ambigua (Dennstaedtiaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Large caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Hypolepis ambigua (Dennstaedtiaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Large caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Lastreopsis glabella (Dryopteridaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Large caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Lastreopsis glabella (Dryopteridaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Pupa of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) on a frond of Water fern, Histiopteris incisa (Dennstaedtiaceae): note the silk thread holding the pupa to the leaf. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Pupa of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) on a frond of Water fern, Histiopteris incisa (Dennstaedtiaceae): note the silk thread holding the pupa to the leaf. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Pupa of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) on frond of Sweet fern, Pteris macilenta (Pteridaceae): note the caterpillar head capsule at the base of the pupa. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Pupa of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) on frond of Sweet fern, Pteris macilenta (Pteridaceae): note the caterpillar head capsule at the base of the pupa. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Ventral side of pupa of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) on frond of Lastreopsis microsora (Dryopteridaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Ventral side of pupa of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) on frond of Lastreopsis microsora (Dryopteridaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Life Stages and Annual Cycle

There are several generations per year in warmer areas such as Auckland, but there may be only one generation a year in colder areas.

At rest the adult moths are triangular, about 8-10 mm long and with 15-20 mm wingspan. The upper side of the forewings is rich reddish brown to darker brown with areas of paler brown, white and black; the white is arranged into bead-like marks. The hindwings are paler, whitish with a suffusion of brown and a dark spot on the outer margin. The underside of both wings has markings similar to the upper side but paler. The body is reddish brown on top and paler on the underside, with some white areas on the sides at the base of the abdomen. The area between the base of the legs (underside of thorax) is white. The three pairs of legs are banded brown and white. The head bears a pair of fairly long antennae that are folded back in a narrow V when the moth is at rest. It is presumed that the female moth attracts the male with pheromones (special species-specific scents) after which they mate. The female moth then lays eggs on young fern fronds.

Several eggs may be laid on a young fern frond, probably on the underside. A caterpillar hatches from an egg and feeds on the underside of the fern frond. At first the caterpillar just eats the frond tissue leaving the upper epidermis (skin) intact, creating a ‘window’ in the fern frond. Older caterpillars may eat right through the frond making holes in the frond or notches in the edge of the frond. When the caterpillar is feeding and growing, it moults (changes skin). The young caterpillar is white to pale green and has a black head capsule. Larger caterpillars have glassy, translucent green bodies and the pale head capsule has blackish markings. When fully grown the caterpillar is about 10 mm long. It uses its jaws to bite off pieces of leaf tissue at the edges of the ‘windows’. The caterpillar has three pairs of legs on the thorax, and five pairs of prolegs (false legs) on abdominal segments 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10.

When the caterpillar is full grown it finds a sheltered part of the fern frond and attaches itself by the tip of its abdomen to the frond. It may also be held in place by a silk thread. It then moults into a pupa that turns brown with a few darker markings. Shortly before moth emergence, the colour of the wings and legs can be seen through the skin of the pupa. When the moth is ready to emerge the skin of the pupa at the front splits and the moth pushes its way out. It hangs upside-down from the plant while its body hardens and its wings dry.

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Recognition

Adults of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, are similar in appearance to other species of Musotima in New Zealand, especially M. ochropteralis (Australian maidenhair fern moth). Musotima nitidalis differs in having a large, white, more or less comma-shaped mark next to the forewing postmedian line at 2/3 (no such mark in M. ochropteralis) and 2 discrete white discal spots at ½ forewing length (where M. ochropteralis has a single comma-shaped spot). The hindwing is distinctly marked in M. ochropteralis, with clear white postmedian and subterminal lines on a golden-brown ground; M. nitidalis has the hindwing much paler than forewing and with indistinct cross-lines. As mentioned above, fern moths reared from Asplenium oblongifolium and A. bulbiferum may represent a species separate from M. nitidalis; these moths are very similar in appearance, but on average slightly larger, and with the forewing tending to be predominantly blackish brown in colour; the markings are identical to those of M. nitidalis.

The caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth are found on ferns belonging to three families, Dennstaedtiaceae, Dryopteridaceae and Pteridaceae. They are the only species of Musotima on these ferns. The related Maidenhair Fern moth, Musotima aduncalis is the only species found on native species of maidenhair ferns, Adiantum species (Pteridaceae) and the Australian maidenhair fern moth, Musotima ochropteralis is found on the introduced European maidenhair fern, Adiantum capillus-veneris and Delta maidenhair fern, A. raddianum.

Musotima caterpillars can be recognised by their glassy, translucent appearance, bright green colour and the distinctive feeding damage done to their host plants. The young caterpillars are pale green with a black head capsule. The older caterpillars are bright green with long dark setae (‘hairs’) and have a pale head capsule with blackish markings. The young caterpillars eat the frond tissue leaving the upper epidermis (skin) intact. Older caterpillars may chew right through the frond.

  • Adult Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) reared from caterpillar on Sweet fern, Pteris macilenta (Pteridaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) reared from caterpillar on Sweet fern, Pteris macilenta (Pteridaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of adult Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) reared from caterpillar on Sweet fern, Pteris macilenta (Pteridaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of adult Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) reared from caterpillar on Sweet fern, Pteris macilenta (Pteridaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Young caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Lastreopsis microsora (Dryopteridaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Young caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Lastreopsis microsora (Dryopteridaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Young caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Lastreopsis microsora (Dryopteridaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Young caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Lastreopsis microsora (Dryopteridaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Large caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Lastreopsis glabella (Dryopteridaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Large caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Lastreopsis glabella (Dryopteridaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Natural Enemies

No pathogens or predators of Golden-brown fern moth have been reported. It is likely that birds, spiders and predatory insects catch and eat the moths.

Parasitoids
Three parasitoids of Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, have been found. One parasitoid wasp, Aucklandella sp. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), kills the caterpillar after it has pupated. When the adult wasp is ready to emerge, it chews a hole in the moth pupal skin.

A second parasitoid wasp, Diadegma sp. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), kills the caterpillar when it is fully grown and about to pupate. The wasp larva emerges from the caterpillar and spins an oval, dark grey cocoon in which it pupates. When the adult wasp is ready to emerge it chews a round hole in its cocoon.

The adult female of the third species, the Basket-cocoon wasp, Meteorus pulchricornis, lays an egg in the small caterpillar. When the wasp larva is fully grown it makes a hole in the still live caterpillar and attaches a thread to the fern frond and spins its loose weave basket inside which it spins a cocoon in which it pupates. The basket like cocoon hangs from the fern on the thread.

Table: Natural enemies of Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), from Plant-SyNZ database (31 January 2019). The reliability index shows the quality of evidence for the host association (0-10, 10=high quality).
Scientific NameCommon NameClassificationEnemy TypeReliability IndexBiostatus
Aucklandella sp. (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidaeparasitoid7endemic
Diadegma sp. (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidaeparasitoid7unknown
Meteorus pulchricornis (Wesmael, 1835)Basket-cocoon parasitoid (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Braconidaeparasitoid10adventive
  • Pupa of Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), with an exit hole at the head end made by an adult parasitoid wasp, Aucklandella sp. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Pupa of Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), with an exit hole at the head end made by an adult parasitoid wasp, Aucklandella sp. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Dorsal side of an adult parasitoid wasp, Aucklandella sp. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), that emerged from pupa of Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Dorsal side of an adult parasitoid wasp, Aucklandella sp. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), that emerged from pupa of Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Cocoon of parasitoid wasp, Diadegma sp. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), made by the wasp larva after it emerged from a caterpillar of Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae): note the caterpillar head capsule on the cocoon. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Cocoon of parasitoid wasp, Diadegma sp. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), made by the wasp larva after it emerged from a caterpillar of Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae): note the caterpillar head capsule on the cocoon. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Cocoon of parasitoid wasp, Diadegma sp. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), with exit hole for adult wasp Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Cocoon of parasitoid wasp, Diadegma sp. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), with exit hole for adult wasp Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Dorsal side of adult Diadegma sp. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), a parasitoid of Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Dorsal side of adult Diadegma sp. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), a parasitoid of Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of adult Diadegma sp. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), a parasitoid of Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of adult Diadegma sp. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), a parasitoid of Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Front view of adult Diadegma sp. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), a parasitoid of Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Front view of adult Diadegma sp. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), a parasitoid of Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Cocoon of female Basket-cocoon parasitoid, Meteorus pulchricornis (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) suspended from a lacebark leaf (Hoheria populnea) after emerging from a caterpillar of the lacebark looper, Epiphryne undosata (Lepidoptera: Geometridae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Cocoon of female Basket-cocoon parasitoid, Meteorus pulchricornis (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) suspended from a lacebark leaf (Hoheria populnea) after emerging from a caterpillar of the lacebark looper, Epiphryne undosata (Lepidoptera: Geometridae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Cocoons of female Basket-cocoon parasitoid, Meteorus pulchricornis (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) after the adults have emerged: note the cut open 'lid'. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Cocoons of female Basket-cocoon parasitoid, Meteorus pulchricornis (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) after the adults have emerged: note the cut open 'lid'. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of an adult female Basket-cocoon parasitoid, Meteorus pulchricornis (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of an adult female Basket-cocoon parasitoid, Meteorus pulchricornis (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult female Basket-cocoon parasitoid, Meteorus pulchricornis (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Adult female Basket-cocoon parasitoid, Meteorus pulchricornis (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Host Plants

Caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, feed on young fronds of ferns in three families (Dennstaedtiaceae, Dryopteridaceae and Pteridaceae). Initially the caterpillars just eat the frond tissue leaving the upper epidermis (skin) intact. Older caterpillars may eat the right through the frond.

Table: Host plants of the Fern moth, Musotima nitidalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) from Plant-SyNZ database (31 January 2019). The reliability score shows the quality of evidence for the host association (1-10, 10=high).
Common Name(s)Scientific NameFamilyReliability IndexBiostatus
Water fern, Histiopteris, Mātā, MātātāHistiopteris incisa (Thunb.) J.Sm.Dennstaedtiaceae9indigenous, non-endemic
Hypolepis ambigua (A.Rich.) Brownsey & ChinnockDennstaedtiaceae9endemic
Giant hypolepisHypolepis dicksonioides (Endl.) Hook.Dennstaedtiaceae9indigenous, non-endemic
Smooth shield fernLastreopsis glabella (A.Cunn.) TindaleDryopteridaceae9endemic
Lastreopsis microsora (Endl.) TindaleDryopteridaceae9indigenous, non-endemic
Hard fern, Scented fern, Lace fern, Ring fern, Mātā, MātātāPaesia scaberula (A.Rich.) KuhnDennstaedtiaceae9endemic
Austral bracken, Bracken, Bracken fern, Common fern, Manehu, rahurahu, Rārahu, Rarauhe, Rarauhe-mahuika, TākakaPteridium esculentum (G.Forst.) CockayneDennstaedtiaceae9indigenous, non-endemic
Sweet fernPteris macilenta A. Rich.Pteridaceae9indigenous, non-endemic
  • Young frond of Bracken, Pteridium esculentum (Dennstaedtiaceae) with feeding damaged by caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Young frond of Bracken, Pteridium esculentum (Dennstaedtiaceae) with feeding damaged by caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Young frond of Sweet fern, Pteris macilenta (Pteridaceae) with feeding damaged by caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Young frond of Sweet fern, Pteris macilenta (Pteridaceae) with feeding damaged by caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Young frond of Water fern, Histiopteris incisa (Dennstaedtiaceae) with feeding damaged by caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Young frond of Water fern, Histiopteris incisa (Dennstaedtiaceae) with feeding damaged by caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Young frond of Water fern, Histiopteris incisa (Dennstaedtiaceae) with feeding damaged by caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Young frond of Water fern, Histiopteris incisa (Dennstaedtiaceae) with feeding damaged by caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Young frond of Hard fern, Paesia scaberula (Dennstaedtiaceae) with feeding damaged by caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Young frond of Hard fern, Paesia scaberula (Dennstaedtiaceae) with feeding damaged by caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Young frond of Hypolepis ambigua (Dennstaedtiaceae) with feeding damaged by caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Young frond of Hypolepis ambigua (Dennstaedtiaceae) with feeding damaged by caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Frond of Smooth shield fern, Lastreopsis glabella (Dryopteridaceae) with feeding damaged by caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Frond of Smooth shield fern, Lastreopsis glabella (Dryopteridaceae) with feeding damaged by caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Frond of Lastreopsis microsora (Dryopteridaceae) with feeding damaged by caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Frond of Lastreopsis microsora (Dryopteridaceae) with feeding damaged by caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Information Sources

Plant-SyNZ: Invertebrate herbivore-host plant association database. plant-synz.landcareresearch.co.nz/

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Acknowledgements

The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited (Plant & Food Research) for permission to use photographs.

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Other Images

  • Dorsal side of an adult parasitoid wasp, Aucklandella sp. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), that emerged from pupa of Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Dorsal side of an adult parasitoid wasp, Aucklandella sp. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), that emerged from pupa of Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Sweet fern, Pteris macilenta (Pteridaceae): note the pale head capsule. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Sweet fern, Pteris macilenta (Pteridaceae): note the pale head capsule. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Young frond of Hard fern, Paesia scaberula (Dennstaedtiaceae) with feeding damaged by caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Young frond of Hard fern, Paesia scaberula (Dennstaedtiaceae) with feeding damaged by caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Pupa of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) on a frond of Lastreopsis microsora (Dryopteridaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Pupa of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) on a frond of Lastreopsis microsora (Dryopteridaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Frond of Lastreopsis microsora (Dryopteridaceae) with feeding damaged by caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Frond of Lastreopsis microsora (Dryopteridaceae) with feeding damaged by caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Small caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Hypolepis ambigua (Dennstaedtiaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Small caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Hypolepis ambigua (Dennstaedtiaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Pupa of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) on a frond of Hypolepis ambigua (Dennstaedtiaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Pupa of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) on a frond of Hypolepis ambigua (Dennstaedtiaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) reared from caterpillar on Lastreopsis glabella (Dryopteridaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) reared from caterpillar on Lastreopsis glabella (Dryopteridaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Large and small caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Hypolepis ambigua (Dennstaedtiaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Large and small caterpillars of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Hypolepis ambigua (Dennstaedtiaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Hypolepis ambigua (Dennstaedtiaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Caterpillar of the Golden-brown fern moth, Musotima nitidalis, (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) feeding on a young frond of Hypolepis ambigua (Dennstaedtiaceae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Suggested Citation

Hoare RJB, Martin NA. 2019. Golden-brown fern moth - Musotima nitidalis. Interesting Insects and other Invertebrates. New Zealand Arthropod Factsheet Series Number 165. http://nzacfactsheets.landcareresearch.co.nz/Index.html. Date Accessed. ISSN 1179-643X.

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