The genus Izatha only occurs in New Zealand. It is one of our special and diverse groups of endemic moths, with 40 species now recognized. Most of them are beautifully camouflaged when resting on the trunks of our forest trees so that they resemble bark or lichen, and they have been popularly named 'lichen tuft moths' as a result. Some Izatha species are apparently rare and may be in need of special conservation. Caterpillars of Izatha almost all tunnel in dead wood, where they probably digest the fungal element; others appear to feed on bracket fungi or lichens. Izatha species thus play an essential role as decomposers, responsible for recycling the nutrients in New Zealand's forests and shrublands. Despite their interesting form and ecological significance, the study of these moths has been neglected and 15 new species are described in this volume, which represents an increase of 60% over the 25 previously known. This Fauna covers the classification, distribution, ecology and biology of Izatha. It includes information about new species, keys, sexual selection and sexual antagonism. The adults of all species are described and illustrated in colour.
Publisher: Manaaki Whenua Press