I first encountered Swan Plant Moth when we lived in Auckland. I'd not seen it before and was wondering what on earth could have done such damage to the Swan Plants. It's difficult to see the caterpillars because they are long and slim and the same green of the swan plant leaves.
The caterpillar weaves a sticky web around the swan plant leaves. It does similar around the flowers and the flowers soon dry out and die. You can tell that the infestation is swan plant moth because you'll notice tiny little black 'seeds' of their poo everywhere.
Look closer and you'll spot the long, shiny caterpillar.
Species: G. onychinalis
Binomial name: Glyphodes onychinalis
Synonyms: Asopia onychinalis, Zebronia braurealis, Lepyrodes astomalis.
Common name: Swan plant moth.
Glyphodes onychinalis is moth of the family of Crambid snout moths (Crambidae). It is a native to the Afro-Asian Region, including India, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, where it was first recorded in 1986 in Auckland.
It has a wingspan of about 15 mm and is attracted to lights.
The caterpillars feed on the flowers of Gomphocarpus fruticosus (swan plant) and have also been recorded feeding on Jasmine, Nerium oleander and probably other plants.