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Dr Barb (left) setting up a light trap for collecting moths.
Photo by Barbara Anderson

From the desk of Dr Barb...

Wild Dunedin —

Pākākā Tmetolophota purdii is one of my absolute favourite moths. The most part of why I love this moth is its amazing colouring - it's a fabulous deep rusty-orange-burgundy with flashes of muted gold. It's large and velvety and fabulous! (The specimen pictures completely don’t do the live moth justice.)

The main reason this is my favourite moth is rather sentimental. Pākākā was the first moth that I both caught and identified in my own back garden. 

The pākākā (Tmetolophota purdii) is one of Dr Barb's favourite moths because of its fabulous colours, and it was the first moth she caught and identified in her back garden. — Image by: Dr Robert Hoare

I think the rush of just knowing that you know which species something is regardless of taxa or geography is something special. I know we found some at Orokonui Ecosanctuary, and at Clutha Valley Primary School 

We have come up with a Te Reo common name for this lovely moth: Pākākā. This fantastic name gives us a wonderful opportunity to practice our long vowel sounds and make sure the macron function on our keyboard is working. 

Pākākā means to be scorched, reddish-brown, ginger coloured, cheastnut. Take a closer look at the in situ photo of Pākākā and the photo of the male specimen – see the “scorch” marks on the upper wings. Check out the colours and if you can find a better description for those forewings than 'reddish-brown, ginger coloured, chestnut', I tip my hat to you (Metaphorically).