Agathiphagidae are 1 of only 3 lineages of Lepidoptera that have retained biting mouthparts instead of the coilable proboscis that is so distinctive for the remainder of the order.

Very little is known about the biology of adult Kauri moths as they are only rarely observed in their natural habitat.

They are nocturnal, and adults are thought to emerge and lay eggs in the southern hemisphere spring.

Despite the functional mandibles, it is unclear whether the adults feed at all.

Life cycle

The eggs and egg-laying behaviour of Kauri moths have not been described.

Based on the morphology of the female ovipositor - which is extendable but not piercing - we assume eggs are laid below the scales of the female Kauri Pine cone (genus Agathis).

The larva feeds and subsequently pupates inside the seed of the cone.

Before emerging, the larva enters a diapause that may last up to 12 years - the diapause is terminated by periods of high moisture, such as heavy tropical rain.

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