Leaf-eating caterpillars of the native moth Proteodes carnifex can defoliate hectares of mountain beech forest. Healthy trees usually recover, but weak trees may die. Females lay about 300 eggs on the underside of mountain beech leaves. The little caterpillars that hatch out of the eggs feed on leaves through winter, spring and early summer. They make their cocoons in midsummer and emerge as moths, ready to mate, in February.
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