Color pattern variation in the puriri moth, Aenetus virescens (Lepidoptera: Hepialidae)
Many species of Hepialidae are highly variable and often it is impossible to definitively identify specimens based on wing pattern alone. Illustrated examples of extensive wing variation include the Mediterranean species of Gazoryctra, Neohepialiscus, Pharmacis, Phymatopus, and Triodia and South American species of Dalaca, Callipielus, and Aepytus. Contrasting patterns appear to be present in most if not all Hepialidae, including those of New Zealand as illustrated by Dugdale. In many cases the range of variation does not receive much attention as hepialid patterns are often complex and many species either lack prominent markings or they are relatively indistinct. An exception to this characterization is the genus Aenetus of eastern Indonesia, Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, and New Zealand. Most species are large bodied with prominent green forewings of various shades with a superimposed pattern of white or brown spots that often fuse into irregular transverse markings or bands. Contrasting variations in colour tone and pattern have been reported and illustrated for Aenetus cohici in New Caledonia.